Friday, November 9, 2007

New York Burma Friends: Can You Help Us in Congress

from the US Campaign for Burma...

Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2007:

New York Get Your Representatives to Co-Sponsor!

As we mentioned last week, Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA) introduced new sanctions to cut off major revenue from Burma's military junta. The Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti- Democratic Efforts) Act of 2007 (HR 3890) has the power to force the regime to negotiate with Burma's democracy leaders and Ethnic nationalities. We must show the people of Burma that the U.S. is taking action to support their calls for freedom, democracy and human rights. Call your Representative today asking them to support the Block Burmese JADE Act! Organize your community to call in as well. Contact details for your Representative below.

What the Act Does:

The regime makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year off the sale of gems. More than 90 percent of the world's rubies and fine-quality jade comes from Burma. The new sanctions will crack down on the regime's practice of avoiding U.S. sanctions by laundering gemstones through third countries before they are sold.

Chevron with a large investment in natural gas in Burma, provides the regime with huge cash flows. They have also escaped sanctions - until now! This bill will target Chevron's payments to the regime and their ability to claim tax deductions on those payments.

This Act also freezes the assets of Burmese political and military leaders, prevents Burma from using U.S. financial institutions via third countries to launder the funds of those leaders or their immediate families, and prohibits Burmese officials involved in the violent suppression of protesters from receiving visas to the United States.

"This legislation will turn off a huge cash spigot for the thuggish Burmese regime," Lantos said. "If my colleagues come together and act quickly to pass these new sanctions, we can put an end to huge profits for the junta and its unscrupulous middle-men. We must ensure that the sale of some of the Earth's most beautiful natural resources does not continue to enable the horrors inflicted upon the people of Burma."

Burma also uses third countries to access the U.S. banking system. These overseas banks process accounts in and through the United States for Burma's rulers, providing the regime with much-needed hard currency. The regime uses these funds to purchase weapons and luxury goods, while the bulk of Burma's population lives in poverty.

Lantos' legislation tightens existing sanctions to prevent Burma's military rulers from profiting from sales to the United States, and blocks access to the U.S. financial system not just for Burmese human rights violators but also to those who provide the regime with banking services.

The Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2007, if passed, would be the strongest action yet that the U.S. takes to pressure Burma's military regime to negotiate with Burma's democracy leaders and ethnic nationalities.

Contact information:

To find out whom your individual representative is click on this link and type in your zipcode, Once there, enter your zip code in the "Find your representative" box in the top left corner of the screen.
Once you know whom your representative is - use the list below to contact your representative's Foreign Affairs staffer. If s/he is not there leave a message and ask her/him to call you back. Call today and call every day until you get an answer!

Already a cosponsor:
Congressman Gary Ackerman (Democrat, 5th district)
Congressman Peter King (Republican, 3rd district)
Congressman Joseph Crowley (Democrat, 7th district)
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Democrat, 14th district)
Congressman Eliot Engel (Democrat, 17th district)


Top Priority As He is Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, the committee responsible for passing this Act
Congressman Charles Rangel (Democrat, 15th district), contact staffer: 202-225-4365
Congressman Tim Bishop (Democrat, 1st district), contact staffer: Will Jenkins at 202-225-3826
Congressman Steve Israel (Democrat, 2nd district), contact staffer: Mike Ryan at 202-225-3335
Congressman Carolyn McCarthy (Democrat, 4th district), contact staffer: Robert Recklaus at 202-225-5516
Congressman Gregory Meeks (Democrat, 6th district), contact staffer: Sophia King at 202-225-3461
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (Democrat, 8th district), contact staffer: Carole Angel at 202-225-5635
Congressman Anthony Weiner (Democrat, 9th district), contact staffer: Dori Friedberg at 202-225-6616
Congressman Edolphus Towns (Democrat, 10th district), contact staffer: Alex Beckles at 202-225-5936
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (Democrat, 11th district), contact staffer: Jahmal Hudson at 202-225-6231
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (Democrat, 12th district), contact staffer: Max Trujillo at 202-225-2361
Congressman Vito Fossella (Republican, 13th district), contact staffer: CW Estoff at 202-225-3371
Congressman Jose Serrano (Democrat, 16th district), contact staffer: George Sullivan at 202-225-4361
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (Democrat, 18th district), contact staffer: Lucy Heenan at 202-225-6506
Congressman John Hall (Democrat, 19th district), contact staffer: Scott Payne at 202-225-5441
Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat, 20th district), contact staffer: Brooke Jamison at 202-225-5614
Congressman Michael McNulty (Democrat, 21st district), contact staffer: David Torian at 202-225-5076
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (Democrat, 22nd district), contact staffer: Moira Campion at 202-225-6335
Congressman John McHugh (Republican, 23rd district), contact staffer: Ann LeMay at 202-225-4611
Congressman Michael Arcuri (Democrat, 24th district), contact staffer: Sam Marchio at 202-225-3665
Congressman James Walsh (Republican, 25th district), contact staffer: Tim Drumm at 202-225-3701
Congressman Thomas Reynolds (Republican, 26th district), contact staffer: Mark Meyer at 202-225-5265
Congressman Brian Higgins (Democrat, 27th district), contact staffer: Jonathan Weston at 202-225-3306
Congresswoman Louise McIntosh Slaughter (Democrat, 28th district), contact staffer: Michelle Adams at 202-225-3615
Congressman Randy Kuhl (Republican, 29th district), contact staffer: Paul Bleiberg at 202-225-3161

To add their name as a cosponsor:
Let them know that to co-sponsor they should contact Eric Richardson at the Committee on Foreign Affairs office at or 225-5021.

Talking Points for Staffer:
- Tell the staffer you want your representative to co-sponsor the Block Burmese JADE Act of 2007
- Give her/him proof that this policy works. It cuts off hundreds of millions of dollars to the regime and will specifically target the top generals' finances.
- Mention that the military junta still deserves sanctions. On top of brutally crushing thousands of peaceful demonstrators, including monks, the military regime has destroyed more than 3,000 villages. It has forcibly displaced more than half a million people inside Burma as well as causing a million refugees to flee across the border to neighboring countries and has made no efforts to move toward democracy.
- Let her/him know it is important to send a strong signal to the regime that the US government will continue to keep American money out the hands of the junta.
- This is not the only action being taken against Burma. On top of many diplomatic efforts, the EU has imposed new sanctions, as well as Australia, and even Japan has decreased aid to Burma.
- Finally ask the staffer to call you back when your representative has co-sponsored the Block Burmese JADE Act. Important: Leave your phone number!
Let him/her know that his/her constituents care about Burma!

Check up to see if they cosponsor:
It's easy to check and see if they follow through and agree to cosponsor. THOMAS, the Library of Congress' congressional records database updates a list of all information on legislation. Click on this link to find out who has signed as cosponsors,

Please let me know when you have contacted your Representative and how it went - These new sanctions will hit the regime where it hurts.

1 comment:

NY Burma Action said...

We also need people to get SENATORS to act NOW!

Contact information:

Call your Senators' offices and ask to speak with their foreign policy staffer (listed below). If s/he is not there leave a message and ask her/him to call you back. Call today and every day until you get an answer! This is the most effective tool to ensure that your voice gets heard. Instead of a letter getting lost, you speak directly with the person who needs to hear your message.

Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat), contact staffer: Sarah Birmingham 202-224-6542
Remind his staffer that he cosponsored the renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act earlier this year, he should continue his support

Senator Hillary Clinton (Democrat), contact staffer: Rebecca Goldenberg at 202-224-4451
Remind her staffer that she cosponsored the renewal of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act earlier this year and in previous years and as member of the Senate Women's Caucus on Burma she should continue her support

To add their name as a cosponsor:Let them know that to co-sponsor (Burmese Democracy Promotion Act of 2007 - S.2257)Democrats should contact Frank Jannuzi at the Committee on Foreign Relations at 202-224-4651
Republicans should contact Reb Brownell in Senator McConnell's office at 202-224-2541