The Foreign Relations Committee monitored shifting policies in the Middle East, and Kaufman attended hearings and meetings with U.S. and foreign officials regularly. He also accompanied six congressional delegations (CODELs), traveling extensively throughout the region to stay abreast of political and military developments.
To the committee, Kaufman also brought unique experience: he previously served on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media. His insights on media and foreign relations situated him to be a leading voice for freedom of the press issues. He co-authored a resolution recognizing World Press Freedom Day, highlighted press restrictions in China, and formed the Senate Global Internet Freedom Caucus to promote free expression and to curtail Internet censorship.
In Iran, presidential elections in June 2009 led to protests over the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Iranian government authorities beat demonstrators; closed news bureaus; and censored, detained, and imprisoned journalists. In response, Kaufman co-authored the Victims of Iranian Censorship (VOICE) Act, supporting freedom of the press, speech, and expression in Iran and authorizing the BBG to expand programming in the country.