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house Bill H. Res. 134

Should the House of Representatives Condemn the Military Coup in Burma?

Argument in favor

The Burmese military’s coup on February 1, 2021 destroyed Burma’s fragile progress toward democracy. As the world’s leading democracy, the U.S. must condemn the Tatmadaw’s actions and work with the international community to resolve this crisis. This resolution sets forth specific actions for relevant governing bodies and U.S. officials to take in service of this aim.

jimK's Opinion
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03/19/2021
It is important for our country to denounce anti-Democratic processes when emerging democracies are at risk. It is what our country used to represent. It does ring a bit hollow given our internal political problems where party politics dominate our democracy and the politicians desire to wield political influence seems to out weigh their desire to preserve our democracy. … … … The trumpublican experiment has greatly reduced our credibility as a country that values democracy and the institutions that empower the democratic processes that makes our country whole. Hopefully our new administration will prevail in restoring our democracy by protecting all of our people, preserving the right of all of our people to vote in free and fair elections and treat other people and the world of nations with dignity and respect driven by the philosophy of our founders and what has been traditional unique American values of honesty, fair-play and equitable solutions.
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Frank-001's Opinion
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03/19/2021
Absolutely! Condemn the military coup in Burma! Do it in no uncertain terms! Often it is clearer to remind others of their wrongdoings than it is to see one’s own. That’s reason enough to be an active member of an international community dedicated to rationality, integrity, and democracy,
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larubia's Opinion
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03/20/2021
In a classic tRump move, Myanmar's military seized power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. The army alleges the recent landslide win by Ms Suu Kyi's party was marred by fraud. Biden has already threatened sanctions. The UK & UN have already denounced these actions. We should, too...that is if we still support democracy???
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Argument opposed

This toothless resolution is an unnecessary symbolic gesture. The Biden administration is already imposing sanctions and working with international partners to urge other nations to impose consequences on the coup’s leaders and calling on the Tatmadaw to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other majority party leaders.

TheDarkSide's Opinion
···
03/19/2021
Would be hypocritical to do so considering the United States government initiated and participated in at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign countries during the period 1946–2000.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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03/21/2021
Why? It doesn’t do anything? I’m not interested in symbolic gestures. Act or stay outside
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NoHedges's Opinion
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03/19/2021
I would rather they work on reforming the ongoing abuse and lack of adequate funding in our foster care system, investigate house members ties to Russian assets, build a leadership track to support generational equity, look into ways to disburse child care funds through Social Security to the actual parents/caregivers, address the ongoing mental and systemic poverty towards differently abled, start reversing some of Trumps environmental deregulation, safe guards Alaska’s midterm elections, or redirect some of the military’s bloated spending so that military personnel in this country who are asked to die for this country are paid a $15 minimum wage... Than work on a resolution which has no teeth for people living in Burma. It sincerely reminds me of being told to eat my ...... because the kids in Ethiopia were starving.
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What is House Bill H. Res. 134?

This resolution would express the House of Representatives’ condemnation of the military coup that took place in Burma on February 1, 2021. 

Additionally, this resolution would call for:

  • The release of all detained persons;
  • The restoration of all communication channels (including internet services);
  • The removal of all travel impediments that have been imposed due to the coup, apart from legitimate travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • All members of the civilian government, including elected members of Parliament, to be restored to power;
  • Freedom of expression, including the right to protest, press freedom, and freedom of movement;
  • Unfettered reporting by local, national, and international media; and
  • Refrainment from mass evictions.

Finally, this resolution would call on the President and the Secretary of State to: 

  • Encourage the civilian government’s return to power;
  • Reinstate sanctions aimed at the Burmese military; 
  • Work with international parties and allies to ensure economic consequences for the coup are tailored to avoid impacting Burmese citizens;
  • Ensure that U.S.-based social media companies, including Facebook, don’t allow their platforms to be used as vehicles for disinformation campaigns or advocating violence against the Burmese people;
  • Implement restrictions on diplomatic, economic, and security relations with Burma until a civilian-controlled Parliament is restored and those detained in connection with the coup are released; and
  • Direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations to use America’s voice, vote, and influence in that body to effect greater international cooperation in pursuit of justice and accountability in Burma.

As a simple resolution, this legislation is non-binding and wouldn’t advance beyond the House if passed.

Impact

The House of Representatives; the President; the Secretary of State; Burma (Myanmar); and the Burmese military (Tatmadaw).

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 134

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), Vice Chair of the Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation (APCAN) Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced this resolution to condemn the February 1, 2021 coup by the Burmese military (Tatmadaw) and call for the Tatmadaw to release all political prisoners:

“The Tatmadaw ended Burma’s fragile, ten-year experiment with democracy on February 1. While Burma struggled during that time to enfranchise its minority populations and respect their human rights, the Burmese military’s decision to seize total control over the government is a tragic slide backwards. The Tatmadaw should release its political prisoners and return elected officials to their positions in government. This resolution makes clear that Congress stands with the people of Burma in their ambition for sustainable peace, a genuine democracy, and the realization of human rights for all.”

After this resolution’s passage in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Levin said:

“The Tatmadaw has dealt a serious blow to nascent Burmese democracy, but I have faith the people of Burma, the international community and the United States can work together to demonstrate to the Burmese military that reverting to authoritarian rule is unacceptable. I’m inspired by the hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens who have taken to the streets to protest this coup. My resolution condemning the coup is an act of solidarity with the people of Burma—all of its people, including ethnic minorities who have been left out of its democratic experiment. The civilian government must be restored, but that’s just a first step. Real reform is needed to enfranchise ethnic minorities and build a true democracy for all.”

Lead Republican cosponsor Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) adds:

“America stands with the Burmese people in their struggle for freedom. On February 1, the news broke of a military coup against the civilian government in Burma. The Burmese military seized control and detained top political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and, since then, has detained hundreds of other innocent civilians. The Burmese people have been courageously and peacefully protesting these actions. This coup is a blatant violation of the rights of the Burmese people, and I condemn Burma’s generals for their assault against democracy. I want to thank Democratic Congressman Andy Levin for spearheading this bipartisan legislation to condemn the Burmese military’s coup and I will continue to work with my colleagues to support the people of Burma.” 

The Biden administration is already imposing sanctions and working with international partners to resolve this crisis. In a February 21, 2021 briefing, President Joe Biden said:

“We’ve been in close contact with our allies and partners around the world, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, driving vigorous diplomatic outreach to help coordinate an international response to what happened… I’m announcing a series — a series of actions that we’re taking to begin imposing consequences on the leaders of the coup.  The U.S. government is taking steps to prevent the generals from improperly having access to the $1 billion in Burmese government funds held in the United States. And today, I’ve approved a new executive order — (coughs) — excuse me — a new executive order enabling us to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members.”

In the briefing, President Biden also noted that the U.S. had helped bring the UN Security Council together to issue a strong statement in support of Burmese democracy. He also reiterated a previous call for the military to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi, president Win Myint, and other democratic political leaders and activists.

This resolution passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee by voice vote with the support of 63 bipartisan House cosponsors, including 42 Democrats and 21 Republicans.


Of NoteBurma, also known as Myanmar, is a Southeast Asian nation. Its elected leader, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, and members of her political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), have been detained since a February 1, 2021 military coup.

The Burmese military (Tatmadaw) seized control after a general election in which Suu Kyi’s NLD party won by a landslide. The Tatmadaw had backed the opposition party, which was demanding a rerun of the vote and claiming widespread fraud despite the election commission saying that these claims weren’t supported by the evidence.

After seizing control, the Tatmadaw declared a year-long state of emergency and military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing took power. Suu Kyi has been held in an unknown location since the coup, and NLD MPs who managed to escape request formed a new group in hiding. The NLD’s new leader has encouraged protesters to defend themselves against the crackdown.

Protests over the coup have been the largest since 2007’s Saffron Revolution, in which thousands of monks rose up against the military regime. Teachers, lawyers, students, bank officers, and government workers are among the protesters. In response, the Tatmadaw has imposed numerous restrictions, including curfews and limits to gatherings. It has also used water cannons, rubber bullets, and live ammunition to disperse protesters.

The Tatmadaw has also limited communications in an effort to make organizing more difficult. Initially, it cut the internet on the day of the coup to stall the spread of information. Then, it impose the first overnight internet shutdown on February 6, 2021, on the day of the first mass protest. Since then, the internet has been restricted for 33 evenings and counting, as the military has been cutting it off starting at 1am each evening since February 15, 2021.

Other forms of communication are also currently restricted:

  • Mobile data has been disabled since February 15, 2021;
  • Some public Wi-Fi has been disabled since February 18, 2021; and
  • Online platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have been filtered since February 2021.

The international community’s response to the coup has been largely condemnatory. The U.S. and U.K. have sanctioned Tatmadaw officials, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called the coup “a serious blow to democratic reforms” in Burma. Southeast Asian countries are also pursuing diplomatic efforts to end the crisis.

Although it blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning the coup, China has backed calls for Suu Kyi’s release and a return to democratic norms.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

AKA

Condemning the military coup that took place on February 1, 2021, in Burma and the Burmese military detention of civilian leaders, calling for the release of all those detained and for those elected to serve in Parliament to resume their duties, and for o

Official Title

Condemning the military coup that took place on February 1, 2021, in Burma and the Burmese military detention of civilian leaders, calling for the release of all those detained and for those elected to serve in Parliament to resume their duties, and for other purposes.

simple resolution Progress


  • The house Passed March 19th, 2021
    Roll Call Vote 398 Yea / 14 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedFebruary 18th, 2021

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    It is important for our country to denounce anti-Democratic processes when emerging democracies are at risk. It is what our country used to represent. It does ring a bit hollow given our internal political problems where party politics dominate our democracy and the politicians desire to wield political influence seems to out weigh their desire to preserve our democracy. … … … The trumpublican experiment has greatly reduced our credibility as a country that values democracy and the institutions that empower the democratic processes that makes our country whole. Hopefully our new administration will prevail in restoring our democracy by protecting all of our people, preserving the right of all of our people to vote in free and fair elections and treat other people and the world of nations with dignity and respect driven by the philosophy of our founders and what has been traditional unique American values of honesty, fair-play and equitable solutions.
    Like (39)
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    Would be hypocritical to do so considering the United States government initiated and participated in at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign countries during the period 1946–2000.
    Like (25)
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    Share
    Absolutely! Condemn the military coup in Burma! Do it in no uncertain terms! Often it is clearer to remind others of their wrongdoings than it is to see one’s own. That’s reason enough to be an active member of an international community dedicated to rationality, integrity, and democracy,
    Like (26)
    Follow
    Share
    In a classic tRump move, Myanmar's military seized power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders. The army alleges the recent landslide win by Ms Suu Kyi's party was marred by fraud. Biden has already threatened sanctions. The UK & UN have already denounced these actions. We should, too...that is if we still support democracy???
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Long overdue! This isn’t the 1st military coup but 1 of many going back to the 60s. Even more atrocious is the genocide of Rohingya recently! And the Burmese military massacred revolting students twice (1962, 1988) a la Tienanmenn Square style which was never televised so unknown outside the country. Majority of trade is with China, as is foreign aid so US sanctions are meaningless as China will ignore. Any US action is purely symbolic! Jezu tin ba deh! (Thank you in Burmese)! @Chad: Considering the claims of voter fraud were made by the military, the same military that assumed power in 1962 by shooting Aung San Suu Kyi’s father in the head as well as his cabinet I’m not convinced of the authenticity of the claim! While the military had no problems shooting the father & cabinet they’ve been hesitant to kill the daughter so they’ve put her under house arrest previous, created new laws saying she can’t rule due to her foreign husband (British Oxford Professor, and mixed blood sons), and now election fraud, another convenient excuse for a military coup! https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41566561 https://theconversation.com/myanmar-coup-how-the-military-has-held-onto-power-for-60-years-154526 https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/08/06/burma-justice-1988-massacres https://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/repression-august-8-12-1988-8-8-88-uprising-burmamyanmar.html https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-politics-explainer-idUSKBN2A113H
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    Why? It doesn’t do anything? I’m not interested in symbolic gestures. Act or stay outside
    Like (15)
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    We must support democracy around the world, no matter the location or outcome. While the regime in Burma had troubles, they were democratically elected. The military coup is unacceptable, and we must work with the rest of the democracies to pressure the military out of power and let the people choose their leadership.
    Like (13)
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    We must support democracies around the world. Autocracies are entrenching themselves. We almost lost our own democracy at Putin’s behest.
    Like (10)
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    Yes, we should. However, the U.S. is hardly in a position to tell other Nations that coups are undemocratic when the Trump and the GOP attempted one here.
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    Yes, we should protest the overthrow of elected governments. I don’t see that condemnations cost us anything but time and paper, and not much of either. However, we should also protest and condemn the persecution of groups such as the Rohingya. We were also relatively silent over the annexation of the Ukraine and recent Chinese actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan. We (and other countries) rightly select which causes to tackle, but there should be some consistency in what we stand for and by, in my opinion. We’ve said virtually nothing publicly about Erdogan moving Turkey toward an autocracy, following Putin’s playbook, as I see it. I view Putin as an enormous global threat, yet we haven’t moved much beyond the euphoric view that the world is now safer because the Soviet Union fell apart and Putin has used that to slowly creep Russia back to the Cold War days where he sits in the place of Stalin. When I was young, these things were happening in far away places, so they didn’t really seem to matter much to us as individuals - except for the nuclear threat. We now live on the doorsteps of all of the other countries and they on ours, it seems to me. What seems to have nothing really to do with us turns out to be important as second and third order effects unfold. Burma is small and may not seem to matter much on the surface, but who’s pulling the strings of the coup beyond the surface? We should decide what we stand for individually and as a country and the act like it.
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    I would rather they work on reforming the ongoing abuse and lack of adequate funding in our foster care system, investigate house members ties to Russian assets, build a leadership track to support generational equity, look into ways to disburse child care funds through Social Security to the actual parents/caregivers, address the ongoing mental and systemic poverty towards differently abled, start reversing some of Trumps environmental deregulation, safe guards Alaska’s midterm elections, or redirect some of the military’s bloated spending so that military personnel in this country who are asked to die for this country are paid a $15 minimum wage... Than work on a resolution which has no teeth for people living in Burma. It sincerely reminds me of being told to eat my ...... because the kids in Ethiopia were starving.
    Like (8)
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    14 House Republicans vote against a measure condemning military coup in Myanmar Where were they on jan 6?
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    The military should NEVER control the citizenry. Anywhere!
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    Sure you can ban anything you want. What good does it do when we have nut cases with guns who kill because something bothers them about race, gender, or ethic issues.
    Like (7)
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    How about the House of Representatives actually represent the American citizens they are supposed to work for instead of wasting time doing stupid things and representing their own interests and that if their corporate sponsors.
    Like (7)
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    Definitely! We barely escaped a coup by Tyrant Trump simply because he could competently enact his nefarious plot! We need to support in spirit and deed every single democracy on our planet!
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    Off course we should. Regardless of past support for dictatorships. As an American, we can acknowledge past mistakes and still seek the ideals we strive for. I wonder how Mr Zeldin will vote on this , in Lieu of his support for the Jan. Coup in our own country?
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    Don't confuse Biden more than he is. He has yet to understand that his responsibility and focus should be to and on the US people. All his actions todate, have been in opposition and very questionable. And now he is going to preach to others?
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    What happens in the rest of the world has a very real impact here too. This military coup will likely put leadership in place that may very well represent a threat to our own national security. And if our nation cannot stand up and defend others who are brave enough to stand up for ideals we claim as our own and we claim to be a shining example of, how can we continue to be a player on the world stage when we are a nation of cowardly hypocrites?
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    What do we stand for?!
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