Congressman Crowley Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Measure to Renew Sanctions For One Year on Burma’s Military Regime

Aug 2, 2012 Issues: Foreign Affairs

(Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) applauded today’s House and Senate passage of renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. Spearheaded by Crowley and a bipartisan coalition of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, this legislation will continue the ban on all imports from Burma as part of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. The legislation was included in a legislative package along with other trade measures related to Africa and Central America.

“By passing this legislation extending sanctions for one year, the U.S. Congress sent a clear message that we will continue to stand squarely with the Burmese people in their struggle for human rights,” said Rep. Crowley. “While we have seen many signs of progress in Burma and it is important to acknowledge and respond to that progress, there is still more to be done. Too many political prisoners are still in prison, violence continues against ethnic minorities, and not all necessary political reforms have been put in place. It is critical the U.S. continue to carefully balance its efforts to show recognition for some of political changes that have taken place, while continuing to press for further progress by keeping this law on the books. ”

Each year, Congress must vote to renew sanctions on Burma as part of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act. Signed into law in 2003, the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act strengthened existing U.S. sanctions by banning imports from Burma. Together, the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act and the Block Burmese JADE Act have prevented hundreds of millions of dollars from getting into the hands of Burma’s military leaders. 

In addition to renewing expiring Sanctions on Burma, the House bill, H.R. 5986, also extended critical provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and made technical changes to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

In January 2012, Crowley became the first member of the U.S. House of Representatives to officially travel to Burma in over 12 years. In addition to authoring legislation to renew the ban on all imports from Burma contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, Crowley also spearheaded the effort to strengthen sanctions on Burma’s military leaders through the Block Burmese JADE Act and lead the successful effort to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal.

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is a chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives.