Lobbying on Capitol Hill

BY RICK CORNFELD

This afternoon, we went to Capitol Hill to lobby our Senators and Representatives. There were so many of us that our Senate meetings had to be moved to a large conference room in the Visitors Center.

We had three issues to talk about:

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1. Preventing Iranian nuclear capability. We asked them to support a bipartisan resolution affirming that it is a vital interest of the United States to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. We thanked House members for voting for Iranian sanctions legislation that passed 410-11 in December and asked Senators to vote for sanctions legislation when it comes for a vote.

2. Enhanced U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation. We asked them to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation making clear that the U.S. Commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable and that America is committed to providing Israel the means to defend itself. It would also recommend enhancing Israel’s qualitative military edge, as well as several ways to strengthen U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation.

3. Security Assistance to Israel. We asked them to support the full $3.1 billion in security assistance to Israel in the fiscal year 2013 budget and to vote for the foreign aid bill that contains the aid.

In all, AIPAC had 100 meetings in the Senate and 430 meetings in the House. Our local group lobbied both senators and Reps. Akin, Carnahan, Clay and Emerson. If the other meetings went as well as ours, our measures will pass unanimously. In fact, so strong is the support for Israel on Capitol Hill that they might be all but unanimous.

What made the meetings even more enjoyable is that we met as friends. There were warm greetings, especially for those of us who have been coming year after year. The newcomers — and there were plenty of them since our group is growing — made new friendships that I know they will renew next year.

Rick and Marcy Cornfeld are Co-Chairs of the St. Louis AIPAC Council and are blogging from AIPAC’s Policy Conference 2012 in Washington, D.C.