December 17, 2001
JA Urges Jewelers to Call Senate on Clean Diamonds Act
As this session of the U.S. Congress winds down, Jewelers of America and the World Diamond Council are making a last-ditch effort to urge passage of Senate legislation (S. 1084) as a companion to the House-approved Clean Diamonds Act, H.R. 2722. The legislation, which would require alternations to be compatible with the House bill, is being held up due to Senate objections concerning the changed made to the House version.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is a key figure in the battle and JA has urged its Wisconsin members to fax the following letter or to call the Feingold to ask for his support. Jewelers from other states can call their senators by contacting the U.S. Senate operator at (202) 224-3121. You can also visit the Contacting Congress Web site at www.visi.com/juan/congress. Select your state for your senators' e-mail addresses.
Text of Letter to Feingold from Wisconsin Jewelers Association
Dear Sen. Feingold:
The jewelry retailers of Wisconsin are very grateful for your leadership in the campaign to eliminate the pernicious traffic in conflict diamonds. As you know, our organization and other leading jewelry and diamond industry groups have strongly supported S. 1084 since you co-sponsored its introduction earlier this year.
We believed then, and still believe, that S. 1084 and its companion bill, H.R. 2722 as originally introduced, constitute a very effective vehicle for reaching the goal that you and we share. However, the version of H.R. 2722 approved by the House last week also represents an important step forward.
Our members and allied organizations believe that it is critical to have constructive legislation enacted in the current session of Congress even if the measure isnt quite as comprehensive as we would like. At least three factors support this view.
It is essential that the executive branch be empowered to begin enforcement as soon as possible. The fact that H.R. 2722 as voted by the House takes effect immediately upon enactment is a plus in this regard.
The Kimberley Process made significant progress at its meeting in Botswana last month. Prompt passage of U.S. legislation would complement that action and provide additional momentum in the quest for a global system to eliminate conflict diamonds.
Our customers are entitled to the assurance that their government is taking all feasible steps sooner rather than later to address this serious problem.
It may be possible to make some helpful adjustments in H.R. 2722 as it now stands. But it would be tragic if, in the waning days of this session, such an effort resulted in preventing final passage this month. That could lead to lengthy additional delay and very unfortunate consequences for an industry that has been striving to do the right thing. Therefore we respectfully request that you and your Senate colleagues do everything within your power to attain final passage now.