Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) and her colleagues on the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved bipartisan legislation that strengthens sanctions against the Syrian regime. The Syria Freedom Support Act (H.R. 2106) would impose new sanctions targeting the Syrian energy and financial sectors, and proliferation activities. Among other measures, the bill also contains new human rights sanctions targeting top regime officials, including Bashar al-Assad. Buerkle made the following statement regarding successful passage of the measure.
"This bill represents a massive effort to bring members from both sides of the aisle together in ensuring that we take the necessary action regarding Syria.
"The ongoing violence in Syria is deeply disturbing. Thousands of innocent Syrians have died as citizens have risen up in protest to Assad's regime -- a regime which has consistently proven to be anti-democratic and oppressive. This situation has been a great cause for concern around the globe, from a security as well as a humanitarian perspective.
"It has been almost a year since uprisings began in Syria and we still cannot be certain of the Obama Administration's position. Mr. Obama has pursued a vague foreign policy -- we have seen it before, most notably regarding Libya -- and it inspires no confidence among the American people, in our allies, or in the people around the globe suffering under oppressive regimes.
"In the absence of President Obama's leadership, it is important that Congress presents a strong front and takes action on the situation in Syria. This legislation is a step in the right direction."