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Week ahead: Boxer yields on Israel visa waiver

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of May 19.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) leads a news conference to draw attention to climate change at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 14, 2014. Also pictured are U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) (L) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (2nd L). REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENVIRONMENT) - RTX17E1Y

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has dropped controversial visa waiver language from her US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, Al-Monitor has learned, paving the way for easy passage in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week.

Boxer is expected to offer an amendment during the May 20 mark-up that would nix language requiring the Department of Homeland Security to offer Israel visa-free travel once it has “made every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens.” Also removed: a mandate that the administration exempt Israel from the requirement that its visa refusal rate dip below 3% before it can be admitted (Israel’s current refusal rate is 9.7%).

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