WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Republican and a Democrat in the U.S. Senate introduced legislation that would enhance the role of the State Department’s anti-Semitism envoy.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Monday introduced the “Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017,” a companion bill to one introduced earlier this year in the House by U.S. Representatives Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.
The Senate bill would elevate the existing position to ambassador-level and ban “double-hatting,” or giving the position to someone who already has another assignment.
The Trump administration has yet to name someone to the position. Earlier this year, administration officials denied reports that they planned to do away with the position.
“At a time of growing anti-Semitism across the globe and here at home, it is vital that we prioritize the fight against this scourge,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “This bill would empower the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, and it would ensure that we have someone in that role who can raise the profile of this issue within the Department and in all of our diplomatic efforts.”
“We have seen an alarming rise in anti-Semitism with Jewish communities targeted around the world and even here at home,” Rubio said. “The United States must remain committed to combating anti-Semitism in all its forms, wherever it appears. This bill enhances the position of the Special Envoy and builds upon American leadership on this important issue.”