President-elect Donald Trump is nominating attorney David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel. Although the embassy is in Tel Aviv, Friedman said he would carry out his duties from “the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Friedman didn’t misspeak. Trump has said he plans to move the embassy to Jerusalem. The relocation of the embassy isn’t a new idea. In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation. However, the move was never implemented by a president, though Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all had the chance. Each believed the executive branch, not congress, should determine where the embassy is. The Jerusalem Embassy Act was introduced by Bob Dole.
In 2011 a new bill, the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 2011 was introduced to discontinue the Presidential waiver authority included in the 1995 act. The bill did not clear the House Foreign Affairs Committee.