Legislation would remove embassy move waiver

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A senator plans to offer legislation that would remove the presidential waiver from a law requiring that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) announced at a Jerusalem Conference conclave on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that he would be introducing the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 2009. The legislation calls for the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and also removes the presidential waiver from the Jerusalem Embassy Law passed in 1995. Every president since the law was enacted has signed a series of waivers every six months to delay a potential embassy move.

Without the waiver, the embassy would be required to move.

The Orthodox Union praised the bill’s introduction. "Just as the United States locates its embassy in the duly designated capitals of other nations, so too it should locate its embassy in Israel’s recognized capital," said Nathan Diament, public policy director for the OU.

Brownback was one of a number of members of Congress who spoke at the one-day meeting of the Jerusalem Conference, held in Washington. The group sponsors an annual forum on Israel each year in Jerusalem. Among those present were House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

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