Who are Congressmen Michael Grimm and Jim McDermott?

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) 

Congressman Michael Grimm has represented New York’s 13th congressional district since January 2011. He is a supportive and active friend to Morocco. In February 2011 his Chief of Staff, Chris Berardini, met with Mouaad Ibriz and Jordan Paul to discuss US-Morocco bilateral relations. Chris has travelled to Morocco and is a key supporter of Morocco in Congress; the meeting was very positive. On November 29, 2011, Representative Grimm issued a statement congratulating Morocco on the region’s first free and fair parliamentary elections, and noted that he looks forward « to working with my counterparts in the new Moroccan Parliament to strengthen the historic US-Morocco bilateral relationship. » In August 2011 he signed the Congressional letter to HM Mohammed congratulating him on the success of the July 1 referendum and welcoming the progress that the new Constitutional reforms will bring. 
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) 
Congressman Jim McDermott has represented Washington’s 7th congressional district since January 1989. He met with a MACP Consultant from the Moffett Group in March 2011; the meeting notes indicate that it was neither positive nor negative. 
We believe he was the only Member at the Moroccan American Coalition convention, held in Denver in 2008, and he had a great time. He loves Morocco and the community. Doesn’t’ have enough good things to say about them, although his floor statement below is damning of the government. 
Mustapha Khalfi, currently the Minister of Comm. & Government Spokesperson, was a recipient of the Fulbright/American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellowship in 2006, and served as an intern for Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), taking a course at Johns Hopkins University, and receiving a visiting scholarship at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 
Importantly, below is McDermott’s statement on the FTA in 2004, which is pretty damning of Morocco’s position on the WS. 
Begin Congressional floor text: 
United States – Morocco Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act 
By: Jim McDermott 
Date: July 22, 2004 
Location: Washington, DC 
Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 738, I call up the bill (H.R. 4842) to implement the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, and ask for its immediate consideration. 
Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, the President and his Trade Representative say that the U.S.-Morocco free trade agreement is a good idea because it will strengthen our economic ties with moderate, I emphasize moderate, Muslim countries. 
Well, first of all, two-way trade flow between the United States and Morocco is around a billion dollars a year. Morocco is a tiny economy with little economic significance. The U.S. Commerce Department indicated the trade agreement will have a negligible impact on trade and negligible impact on our economies. 
Furthermore, while I recognize that King Mohammed VI has made great strides recently, particularly with regard to the rights of women, we should not forget two very important issues. One, Morocco is a monarchy and the king is deemed the country’s religious leader. This FTA is really about strengthening ties with moderate monarchies; Jordan, Bahrain and others have preceded it. 
There are dozens of Muslim countries that are vibrant democracies, Egypt, that we should have chosen to pursue trade agreements before we chose Morocco. 
But, two, the way in which Morocco has handled the Western Sahara is really a stain on their nation. In 1975, when the Western Sahara went free from Spain, the Moroccans moved in immediately and said this is our country. It is a very, very wealthy country in natural resources. Both oil is being drilled for by Kerr McGee and other American and British companies, and the fishing industry off the coast is very proficient. 
So before signing an agreement with them, with a nation that has been occupying a territory to which it has no legal claim for 25 years, a nation that has erected a 2,000-kilometer wall to keep the inhabitants of Western Sahara from fleeing, with a country that has no respect for the right of self-determination, we should have ensured that the area of Western Sahara was justly and peacefully resolved. It would have been a lever we could have used to get them to resolve this. 
The U.N. has said you should have an election and they just never quite get around to having it for 25 years. 
I am really pleased, however, that the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the ranking member, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel), have worked with me to insert language into the official committee documents to indicate that in no way does the free trade agreement cover trade investment in the Western Sahara. 
The issue is this: If you drill oil in the Western Sahara and the Moroccans take it into Morocco, is it then eligible for tariff-free dealings with the United States? And the answer should be no, and there should really never have been a trade agreement until that legal claim was relinquished or we had some sort of agreement on all of this. 
What we do have is a letter which the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts) inserted in the RECORD. I suspect I have one very similar to his but he will insert it also in the RECORD. I will include a letter from the Trade Representatives saying that in dealing with Morocco we are dealing with Morocco as understood by the United Nations and the United States, and we are not using this as a kind of end-around to go out and get more oil. 
One wonders why did we go to Morocco? What is it about Morocco? It is a little tiny country, very little trade with us. What is being done here that really needs to be done? 
I think we need to protect the indigenous people of the Sahrawi who live in Western Sahara. They need to have the protection from this United States reaching in and taking their resources by the back door. I thank the chairman for bringing this issue to the floor.

Be the first to comment on "Who are Congressmen Michael Grimm and Jim McDermott?"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.