Friday, December 4, 2009

Next Year in Jerusalem? Unlikely.

President Obama has signed his second suspension of Public Law 104-45, the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. The Act required that the U.S. Secretary of State recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and establish a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999, or else the Department loses 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the Department of State for fiscal year 1999 for ‘‘Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad’’ until such time as the Secretary of State complies.

To comply with the Act is not feasible for political, diplomatic, and constitutional reasons too numerous and contentious to list here. So, every President since 1995 has invoked the waiver authority given him by Section 7 of the Act to suspend the funding limitations for six-month intervals, just like hitting the snooze button on a legislative alarm clock.

Here's the text of the current Presidential Memorandum - Suspension of Limitations Under the Jerusalem Embassy Act:

Presidential Determination No. 2010-03


SUBJECT: Suspension of Limitations Under the Jerusalem Embassy Act

Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 7(a) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-45) (the "Act"), I hereby determine that it is necessary, in order to protect the national security interests of the United States, to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act.

You are hereby authorized and directed to transmit this determination to the Congress, accompanied by a report in accordance with section 7(a) of the Act, and to publish the determination in the Federal Register.

Suspension shall take effect after transmission of this determination and report to the Congress.


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