Foreign Affairs

U.S. Helsinki Commission

Congressman Cohen is a Member of the Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which seeks to improve security by promoting human rights, democracy and cooperation on economic, environmental and military issues in 57 countries.  As a Commissioner, he has attended numerous hearings, briefings and meetings on these issues in Washington, DC, participated in every Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and has traveled to Helsinki member states on official travel to meet with foreign elected officials.

Supporting NATO and Countering Russian Aggression

Congressman Cohen introduced a resolution to express support for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (H.Res.256).  The resolution recognizes that NATO remains the most important and critical security link between the United States and Europe. It also recognizes the United States’ strong commitment to the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic development of the countries that have emerged from the former Soviet Union, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. H.Res.256 passed the House of Representatives on July 11, 2018.

Congressman Cohen is a cosponsor of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act which establishes new sanctions, and enhances existing sanctions, against entities related to Russia, Iran and North Korea. It codifies and strengthens current sanctions contained in executive orders on Russia imposed by President Obama in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Moscow's interference in the U.S. presidential election and gives Congress an opportunity to reject presidential efforts to waive or terminate those and certain other sanctions.  The bill passed the House of Representatives on July 25, 2017 by 419-3 and the U.S. Senate on July 27, 2017 by 98-2 and became law on August 2, 2017.

Congressman Cohen is the sponsor of Punishing Continued Occupation of Ukraine Act which would punish Russia’s continued occupation of Crimea by targeting Russian financial institutions which are the soft underbelly of President Putin’s regime.  He is also a cosponsor of Secure America from Russian Interference Act which increases sanction on Russia and includes Punishing Continued Occupation of Ukraine Act.

Cuban Relations

Congressman Cohen has long supported normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba.  He supported President Obama’s steps to normalize relations with Cuba and has cosponsored the Promoting American Agricultural and Medical Exports to Cuba Act and the Free Trade With Cuba Act .  These bills aim to lift restrictions on exports of agriculture and medical goods to Cuba, ease travel restrictions to and from Cuba for U.S. citizens or legal residents, and repeal the embargo on trade with Cuba, respectively.  He has also written to the Cuban government in support of medical diplomacy with Memphis health institutions.

Syrian Refugees and Immigration Restriction

Congressman Cohen has remained adamantly opposed to President Trump’s anti-refugee and immigration rhetoric. In a time when millions are suffering, it is our duty as Americans to find ways to help, not to isolate ourselves. For this reason, Congressman Cohen has taken action to counteract President Trump’s refugee ban including cosponsoring the Statue of Liberty Values (SOLVE) 2.0 Act to prohibit the use of federal funds from being used to implement President Trump’s ban. Congressman Cohen also signed on to a letter urging federal departments to comply with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn the travel ban that would have prevented people from several countries, including Syria, to travel to the U.S.


Israel has been our closest friend and ally in the Middle East since 1948 when the U.S. became the first country to recognize the establishment of the Jewish state.  Our nearly seven decades long relationship has contributed to the national security of both of our countries and remains as important today as it was during the tumultuous first 20 years of Israel’s existence.  This is why the safety, security and right of Israel to exist as a democratic Jewish state alongside a Palestinian state has been Congressman Cohen’s focus when considering any legislation or actions pertaining to Israel or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

Iran Nuclear Deal

Congressman Cohen voted for the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by President Obama on May 22, 2015.  This bill gave Congress 60 days to review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) before conducting a vote of disapproval.  The JCPOA is an historic agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.  After carefully reviewing the JCPOA and listening to constituents who oppose and support the agreement as well as speaking personally with President Obama and Secretary Kerry about the agreement, meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Dan Baer, attending classified briefings and meetings with officials at the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency while on official travel, and speaking with Asian officials and diplomats, he voted to approve the JCPOA as a diplomatic way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and avoid possible military action. Congressman Cohen is concerned that President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal will cause more instability in the region and will cause Iran to move towards a nuclear bomb.

More on Foreign Affairs

May 22, 2020 Press Release

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) released the following statement today in recognition of Memorial Day on Monday:

February 21, 2020 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, today spoke against anti-Semitism at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Winter meeting in Vienna, Austria. The CSCE is also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

In his remarks, Congressman Cohen said:

January 30, 2020 Press Release


WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted to prohibit federal funds from being used for military actions in or against Iran unless Congress has declared war.  Congressman Cohen also voted to repeal the outdated and unnecessary 2002 Iraq Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). Under the Constitution, Congress has the sole duty to declare war and these votes reassert Congress’ authority over this solemn duty.  

After the vote, Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

January 27, 2020 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) travelled to New York to attend the United Nations Holocaust Memorial Ceremony today as one of two invited members of Congress. The event in the General Assembly Hall, marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp by forces of the Soviet Union in 1945. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement after the event: 

December 19, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today voted for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that modernizes the trade arrangements between the three countries by updating and improving provisions of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). USMCA was made significantly stronger than the text that the President originally presented thanks to months of tireless work by Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Neal and the USMCA Working Group.

October 17, 2019 Press Release

Washington, D.C.- Today, Congressman Steve Cohen, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump's decision to hold the 2020 G7 Summit at Trump National Doral Miami, a potential violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses:

September 19, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today announced that he has been named as one of 34 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are “Notable Leaders” on international religious freedom issues. The assessment was made by 21Wilberforce, a Christian human rights organization dedicated to defending universal rights of religion, belief and conscience, based on his voting record on 64 measures introduced in the 115th Congress (January 3, 2017 through January 3, 2019).  

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

June 20, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today questioned election law and Russian intelligence experts about conclusions drawn by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his review of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. See his questioning of witnesses here