The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill creating a new special envoy position in the State Department dedicated to the Abraham Accords and Israel’s ongoing integration in the greater Middle East.
The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) and Mike Lawler (R-NY), was approved by a large majority of 413 to 13, with eight members not voting.
“I am pleased that today the House of Representatives passed the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act,” said Rep. Lawler in a statement following the approval. “This is my first bill to pass the House. I have been proud to work with my New York colleague Ritchie Torres and a bipartisan coalition of members on this important legislation.”
“The fact that H.R. 3099 passed both in the Foreign Affairs Committee and on the House floor with such overwhelming support shows the strong, bipartisan commitment to long-term peace in the Middle East,” continued Rep. Lawler. “The Abraham Accords were a monumental milestone in normalizing relations between Israel - one of our strongest allies and a beacon of democracy in the region - and neighboring Muslim-majority countries. The progress made by the Accords would simply have been unheard of just a few years prior. We now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build on this success.”
“The addition of a Special Envoy will be critical for bringing Saudi Arabia into the Accords and continuing to strengthen and expand them,” concluded Rep. Lawler. “When so much of the discourse on national politics is division and gridlock, the broad bipartisan support for the Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords Act shows that both parties can still come together and do something really good. We are closer to a lasting, long-term peace in the Middle East than we have ever been.”
“First and foremost, I want to thank my colleague from New York, Rep. Mike Lawler, for his partnership and leadership on this shared legislative priority and to our fellow members of the House who overwhelmingly supported our bill in a bipartisan fashion,” said Rep. Torres. “If there is one cause that should transcend partisan politics, it is peace in the Middle East. Building a bridge between Israel and the Arab world is neither a Democratic value nor a Republican value. It is an American value, and the Abraham Accords is both an affirmation of Arab-Israeli peace and a rejection of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement."
"Instead of the three ‘noes’, we are living in the age of the three ‘yeses’ – yes to recognition of Israel, yes to negotiations with Israel, and yes to peace with Israel," continued Rep. Torres. "The Abraham Accords is an American achievement so monumental that it demands and deserves its own Special Envoy whose sole and singular mission is to build on the inexorable momentum of peace in the Middle East."
"Today, with the full passage of H.R. 3099, we are bending the long arc of the Middle East in its proper direction – toward peace and prosperity for Jewish people, Christians, and Muslims – the children of Abraham," concluded Rep. Torres. "The Senate should move swiftly to consider and pass this legislation, advancing it to the President’s desk so we can codify the role of Special Envoy for the Abraham Accords into law.”
Several Arab countries normalized ties with Israel in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords, which were brokered by the Trump administration.
While the accords were an initiative of Trump, they have also been backed by the Biden administration, which has sought to expand the accords by adding Saudi Arabia to them.
In April, the US House of Representatives voted 401 to 19 in favor of a resolution calling for the expansion and strengthening of the Abraham Accords and expressing support for US relations with Israel.