APN Legislative Round-Up: 12/31/15, Part 2 (the FY16 Omnibus)

1. Omnibus: DOD Appropriations
2. Omnibus: ForOps Approps
3. Omnibus: Other stuff

NOTE: FOR INFORMATION ON ALL OTHER LEGISLATION, HEARINGS, ETC, SEE PART 1 OF THIS WEEK’S ROUND-UP

1. Omnibus: DOD Appropriations

The annual Department of Defense Appropriations bill includes earmarks for extensive funding for DOD programs for/with Israel, entitled “Israeli Cooperative Programs,” as part of funding for “Procurement, Defense-Wide” and “Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, Defense-Wide.” This funding for Israel is separate from and in addition to the cash grant of $3.1 bill appropriated for Israel under the Foreign Operations bill, under the heading of “Foreign Military Assistance.”

For FY16, the DOD approps bill earmarks $487,595,000 in such funding for Israel (which when added to the $3.1 billion, brings total U.S. military funding for Israel for FY16 to just over $3.5 billion). The DOD funding, laid out in Section 8071 of Division of HR 2029, is earmarked for the following programs:

  • $55,000,000 “for the Secretary of Defense to provide to the Government of Israel for the procurement of the Iron Dome defense system to counter short-range rocket threats, subject to the U.S.-Israel Iron Dome Procurement Agreement, as amended;
  • $286,526,000 “for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) program, including cruise missile defense research and development under the SRBMD program”
  • $150,000,000 of the SRBMD funding “shall be for production activities of SRBMD missiles in the United States and in Israel to meet Israel's defense requirements consistent with each nation's laws, regulations, and procedures,
  • Of that $150,000,000, up to $90,000,000 (subject to previously established transfer procedures) “may be obligated or expended until establishment of a U.S.-Israeli production agreement for SRBMD;
  • $89,550,000  “ be for an upper-tier component to the Israeli Missile Defense Architecture
  • Of this, up to $15,000,000 (subject to previously established transfer procedures) may be obligated or expended until establishment of a U.S.-Israeli production agreement;
  •  $56,519,000 “for the Arrow System Improvement Program including development of a long range, ground and airborne, detection suite.
  • It also includes $40 million for a cooperative program assisting the Government of Israel for improving tunnel detection systems, in order to find and counter terrorist networks (not specifically earmarked in the bill text).

Finally, the bill includes and unusual (and perennial) provision allowing a portion of the funding in this section (those funds made available for production of missiles and missile components) to be “transferred to appropriations available for the procurement of weapons and equipment, to be merged with and to be available for the same time period and the same purposes as the appropriation to which transferred.” In plain English, that means that some of the $487,595,000 can be transformed, in effect, into additional FMF.

Syria:  Sec. 9019 stipulates that, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used with respect to Syria in contravention of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.), including for the introduction of United States armed or military forces into hostilities in Syria, into situations in Syria where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, or into Syrian territory, airspace, or waters while equipped for combat, in contravention of the congressional consultation and reporting requirements of sections 3 and 4 of that law (50 U.S.C. 1542 and 1543).”

2. Omnibus: ForOps Approps

Below are details of the FY16 ForOps bill, as approved as part of HR 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016. For details of the House version of the FY16 ForOps bill, see the 6/5/15 edition of the Round-Up; for details of the Senate version, see the 7/17/15 edition of the Round-Up.

 

TITLE I -- DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY

Broadcasting Board of Governors, international broadcasting operations

The bill provides $734,087,000 (compared to $726,657,000 in FY15), “to carry out international

communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio, Internet, and television broadcasting to the Middle East.” Provided that (among other things), “the BBG shall notify the Committees on Appropriations within 15 days of any determination by the Board that any of its broadcast entities, including its grantee organizations, provides an open platform for international terrorists or those who support international terrorism, or is in violation of the principles and standards set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of section 303 of the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (22 U.S.C. 6202) or the entity's journalistic code of ethics.” (same as FY15)

Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund:  Perennial provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund, as authorized by section 633 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 (22 U.S.C. 2078), the total amount of the interest and earnings accruing to such Fund on or before September 30, 2016, to remain available until expended

Israeli Arab Scholarship Program: Perennial provision stating: “    For necessary expenses of the Israeli Arab Scholarship Program, as authorized by section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (22 U.S.C. 2452), all interest and earnings accruing to the Israeli Arab Scholarship Fund on or before September 30, 2016, to remain available until expended..”

 

TITLE III -- BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUNDS – ESF (Total: 1,896,315,000, compared to $2,632,529,000 in FY15)
NOTE:  ESF for Middle East countries is not dealt with in this section of the bill, but left for section 7041 of the bill, dealing with the Middle East as a whole.

MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE – MRA (Total:  $931,886,000, same as FY15)
The bill stipulates that “$10,000,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.” (Same as FY15).

 

TITLE IV - INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE

NONPROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DEMINING AND RELATED PROGRAMS – NADR

The bill includes $506,381,000 for NADR. This funding is subject to a new proviso with respect to Iran (and the demand by some in Congress that Congress have access to private documents between the IAEA and Iran):

“Provided, That the Secretary of State shall inform the appropriate congressional committees of information regarding any separate arrangements relating to the ‘Road-map for the Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran's Nuclear Program’ between the IAEA and the Islamic Republic of Iran, in classified form if necessary, if such information becomes known to the Department of State.”

The funding also includes the perennial stipulation that “…funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the IAEA unless the Secretary of State determines that Israel is being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency.”

PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS – PKO
The bill stipulates that “…not less than $35,000,000 (F15 - $28,000,000] shall be made available for a United States contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.”

FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING – FMF (TOTAL: $4,737,522,000; FY15 - $5,014,109,000)
(See discussion of Section 7041, below, for other Middle East-related FMF provisions.)

Israel:  The text stipulates that “not less than $3,100,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel” and stipulated that “…funds appropriated under this heading for assistance for Israel shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act” and “…to the extent that the Government of Israel requests that funds be used for such purposes, grants made available for Israel under this heading shall, as agreed by the United States and Israel, be available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $815,300,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development.”

NOTE: As highlighted previously in the Round-Up, these little-remarked stipulations – early disbursal (in a single, cash grant) and permission for (not less than) almost $1 billion of FMF to be spent inside Israel – are unique to Israel’s aid program. Both significantly increase the value of the assistance to Israel – and the cost of the assistance to the U.S. In all other cases, FMF is obligated and disbursed by the U.S. on an as-used basis, meaning that the U.S. either keeps the money in the U.S. Treasury until it is needed (where it earns interest) or if the money is not in the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. does not have to borrow it until it is needed (meaning less interest paid).  In the case of Israel, the entire $3.1 billion is handed over by the U.S. to Israel in a lump sum, within 30 days of the passage of the appropriations bill into law – meaning that Israel banks the money until it is needed, earning interest that, in effect, increases the net amount of aid.  In addition, in all other cases, FMF must be spent inside the U.S. (unless a specific exemption is granted).  The logic behind this is that FMF is not simply a “gift” to a foreign country but is actually a form of investment in the U.S. economy.  In Israel’s case, however, almost $1 billion of FMF may be spent outside the U.S. – to fund purchases from Israeli companies or other foreign producers – rather than for the benefit of U.S. industry.

TITLE VII - GENERAL PROVISIONS

 Sec. 7007: Prohibition against direct funding for certain countries
This is perennial bill language banning aid to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria, extending to loans, credits, insurance, and guarantees of the Export-Import Bank or its agents.

Sec. 7008: Coups d’état
This is the section that has caused Congress and the Obama Administration a headache over Egypt funding after the removal of the Morsi government. It states: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to titles III through VI of this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d'etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role:”  It also states that “assistance may be resumed to such government if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office” and that the prohibition in this section “shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes.”

Sec. 7013: Prohibition on taxation of assistance
This is a perennial provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic, the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza. This reflects the genesis of the provision - the allegation in a previous year that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was taxing U.S. assistance provided to NGOs (and recall that under existing law direct aid to the PA is prohibited), thereby indirectly benefiting from US assistance designed specifically to bypass the PA.

Sec. 7015: Notification Requirements
Part (f) of this section states that no funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act (pretty much all funds in the bill) may be obligated or expended for assistance to a laundry list of countries, “except as provided through regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.” From the Middle East the list includes (this year): Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Sec. 7021:  Prohibition on assistance to governments supporting international terrorism
This perennial provision prohibits the export of lethal military equipment to any foreign government “which provides lethal military equipment to a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined supports international terrorism…” and prohibits bilateral assistance to any country supports international terrorism, gives sanctuary to terrorist, or is controlled by a terrorist organization.  The section includes national security waivers for both restrictions.

Sec. 7032: Democracy Programs
Part (a) of this section earmarks not less than $2,308,517,000 (FY15 - $2,308,517,000) of funding from across the Act for democracy programs, (as defined later in this provision). It specifically earmarks not less than $32,000,000 “for the Near East Regional Democracy program.” Part (e) states that “With respect to the provision of assistance for democracy programs in this Act, the organizations implementing such assistance, the specific nature of that assistance, and the participants in such programs shall not be subject to the prior approval by the government of any foreign country.”

Sec. 7033: International Religious Freedom
Part (d) of this section, “Atrocities Prevention” states that “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, after consultation with the heads of other United States Government agencies represented on the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) and representatives of human rights organizations, as appropriate, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees an evaluation of the persecution of, including attacks against, Christians and people of other religions in the Middle East by violent Islamic extremists and the Muslim Rohingya people in Burma by violent Buddhist extremists, including whether either situation constitutes mass atrocities or genocide (as defined in section 1091 of title 18, United States Code), and a detailed description of any proposed atrocities prevention response recommended by the APB:  Provided, That such evaluation and response may include a classified annex, if necessary.”

Sec. 7034: Special Provisions

  • Part (b)(2), entitled “Crowd Control Items,” states that “Funds appropriated by this Act should not be used for tear gas, small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or other items for crowd control purposes for foreign security forces that use excessive force to repress peaceful expression, association, or assembly in countries undergoing democratic transition.” [Note the word is “should,” not “shall” – meaning that this provision is advisory but not binding].
  • Part (k)(10) stipulates that existing loan guarantees for Israel (which should have expired on September 30, 2015) are extended until September 30, 2019. The fact that these loan guarantees, granted to Israeli originally in 2003, keep being extended speaks to the fact that the size of the program was, from the start, far greater than Israel’s actual needs or absorption capacity]. It is also worth noting that the Public Law 108-11; 117 Stat. 576, which contains the original loan guarantees, stipulates that “guarantees may be issued under this section only to support activities in the geographic areas which were subject to the administration of the Government of Israel before June 5, 1967.” –language that in 2003 was considered completely non-controversial.
  • Part (o)(1), entitled “Loan Guarantees and Enterprise Fund,” permits ESF funding to “be made available for the costs…of loan guarantees for Jordan, Ukraine, and Tunisia, which are authorized to be provided…”
  • Part (o)(2), entitled “Enterprise Funds,” stipulates that ESF funds may be made available “to establish and operate one or more enterprise funds for Egypt and Tunisia, notwithstanding any other provision of law, and following consultation with the Committees on Appropriations” subject to various conditions. 

Sec. 7035: Arab league boycott of Israel
Perennial Sense of Congress opposing the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel.

Sec. 7036: Palestinian statehood
Perennial provision barring assistance to a Palestinian state that does not meet a series of conditions (includes Presidential waiver authority).

Sec. 7037: Restrictions concerning the Palestinian Authority
Perennial bill language barring U.S. funds for establishing any diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem. 

Sec. 7038: Prohibition on assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation
Perennial bill language barring any U.S. assistance to the PBC.

Sec. 7039: Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
Perennial section laying out far-reaching restrictions and conditions, as well as vetting, oversight and audit requirements, for U.S. assistance programs (carried out through non-governmental organizations) in the West Bank and Gaza.

Sec. 7040:  Limitation on Assistance for the Palestinian Authority
Perennial bill language [same as FY15 version adopted into law] banning U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, along with Presidential waiver authority.  Also bars any finding for salaries of PA personnel in Gaza or for Hamas or any entity “effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”

The latter prohibition does not apply if the President “certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government, including all of its ministers or such equivalent, has publicly accepted and is complying with the principles contained in section 620K(b)(1) (A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.”  Also, “the President may exercise the authority in section 620K(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as added by the Palestine Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-446) with respect to this subsection.” 

For the sake of completeness, Section 620K(b)(1)(A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, reads as follows:

 (b) Certification.--A certification described in subsection (a) is a certification transmitted by the President to Congress that contains a determination of the President that--

 (1) no ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority is effectively controlled by Hamas, unless the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority has--

(A) publicly acknowledged the Jewish state of Israel's right to exist; and

(B) committed itself and is adhering to all previous agreements and understandings with the United States Government, with the Government of Israel, and with the international community, including agreements and understandings pursuant to the Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (commonly referred to as the `Roadmap').

And 620K(e) reads as follows:

(e) National Security Waiver.--

(1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the President may waive subsection (a) with respect to-

(A) the administrative and personal security costs of the Office of the President of the Palestinian Authority;

(B) the activities of the President of the Palestinian Authority to fulfill his or her duties as President, including to maintain control of the management and security of border crossings, to foster the Middle East peace process, and to promote democracy and the rule of law; and

(C) assistance for the judiciary branch of the Palestinian Authority and other entities.

(2) Certification.--The President may only exercise the waiver authority under paragraph (1) after--

(A) consulting with, and submitting a written policy justification to, the appropriate congressional committees; and

(B) certifying to the appropriate congressional committees that--

(i) it is in the national security interest of the United States to provide assistance otherwise prohibited under subsection (a); and

(ii) the individual or entity for which assistance is proposed to be provided is not a member of, or effectively controlled by (as the case may be), Hamas or any other foreign terrorist organization.

(3) Report.—Not later than 10 days after exercising the waiver authority under paragraph (1), the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report describing how the funds provided pursuant to such waiver will be spent and detailing the accounting procedures that are in place to ensure proper oversight and accountability.

(4) Treatment of certification as notification of program change.--For purposes of this subsection, the certification required under paragraph (2)(B) shall be deemed to be a notification under section 634A and shall be considered in accordance with the procedures applicable to notifications submitted pursuant to that section.

This section also contains the perennial ban on any U.S. assistance to the PLO.

Sec. 7041: Middle East and North Africa

a. Egypt:  Overall condition on aid:  This section states that U.S. funding for the Government of Egypt “may only be made available…if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is-- (A) sustaining the strategic relationship with the United  tates; and (B) meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty..”

ESF:  The bill stipulates that “up to $150,000,000 may be made available for assistance for Egypt, of which not less than $35,000,000 should be made available for higher education programs including not less than $10,000,000 for scholarships at not-for-profit institutions for Egyptian students with high financial need:  Provided, That such funds may be made available for democracy programs and for development programs in the Sinai:  Provided further, That such funds may not be made available for cash transfer assistance or budget support unless the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Egypt is taking consistent and effective steps to stabilize the economy and implement market-based economic reforms.”

The section also stipulates that, “The Secretary of State shall withhold from obligation funds appropriated by this Act under the heading `Economic Support Fund’ for assistance for Egypt, an amount of such funds that the Secretary determines to be equivalent to that expended by the United States Government for bail, and by nongovernmental organizations for legal and court fees, associated with democracy-related trials in Egypt until the Secretary certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt has dismissed the convictions issued by the Cairo Criminal Court on June 4, 2013, in `Public Prosecution Case No. 1110 for the Year 2012'.”

FMF:  The bill stipulates that $1,300,000,000 “may be made available for assistance for Egypt,” (and transferred to an interest bearing account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York). However, the provision stipulates that 15% of this funding shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt:

is taking effective steps to—

(i) advance democracy and human rights in Egypt, including to govern democratically and protect religious minorities and the rights of women, which are in addition to steps taken during the previous calendar year for such purposes;

(ii) implement reforms that protect freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, including the ability of civil society organizations and the media to function without interference;

(iii) release political prisoners and provide detainees with due process of law;

(iv) hold Egyptian security forces accountable, including officers credibly alleged to have violated human rights; and

(v) provide regular access for United States officials to monitor such assistance in areas where the assistance is used.

This section stipulates that this certification requirement shall not apply “to funds appropriated by this Act under such heading for counterterrorism, border security, and nonproliferation programs for Egypt.” 

In addition, the section includes waiver authority, according to which the Secretary of State may waive the certification requirement discussed above, as well as “any provision of law restricting assistance for Egypt” if the Secretary of State “if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on appropriations that to do so is important to the national security interest of the United States, and submits a report to such Committees containing a detailed justification for the use of such waiver and the reasons why any of the requirements…cannot be met.”

Finally, this section requires the Secretary of State to “take all practicable steps to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of funds made available by this subsection for assistance for Egypt” and to consult, not later than 90 days after the enactment of this Act, with the Committees on Appropriations “on any plan to restructure military assistance for Egypt.”

(b) Iran: The section states that funding in this act under “Diplomatic and Consular Programs,” “Economic Support Fund,” and “Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs” shall be used by the Secretary of State—

 (A) to support the United States policy to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or otherwise obtain a nuclear weapon;

(B) to support an expeditious response to any violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231;

(C) to support the implementation and enforcement of sanctions against Iran for support of terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile and weapons proliferation; and

(D) for democracy programs for Iran, to be administered by the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.

This section goes on to stipulate that the terms and conditions of paragraph (2) of section 7041(c) in division I of PL 112-74 shall remain in effect in 2016 “as if part of this Act.”  This paragraph states:

(2) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act under the heading ``Export-Import Bank of the United States'' may be used by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to provide any new financing (including loans, guarantees, other credits, insurance, and reinsurance) to any person that is subject to sanctions under paragraph (2) or (3) of section 5(a) of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-172).

Reporting:  This section stipulates that Secretary of State “shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations the semi-annual report required by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4)).” That report requires the following:

Not later than 180 calendar days after entering into an agreement described in subsection (a), and not less frequently than once every 180 calendar days thereafter, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership a report on Iran's nuclear program and the compliance of Iran with the agreement during the period covered by the report, including the following elements:

 (A) Any action or failure to act by Iran that breached the agreement or is in noncompliance with the terms of the agreement.

(B) Any delay by Iran of more than one week in providing inspectors access to facilities, people, and documents in Iran as required by the agreement.

(C) Any progress made by Iran to resolve concerns by the International Atomic Energy Agency about possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.

(D) Any procurement by Iran of materials in violation of the agreement or which could otherwise significantly advance Iran's ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.

(E) Any centrifuge research and development conducted by Iran that-

          (i) is not in compliance with the agreement; or

         (ii) may substantially reduce the breakout time of acquisition of a nuclear weapon by Iran, if deployed.

(F) Any diversion by Iran of uranium, carbon-fiber, or other materials for use in Iran's nuclear program in violation of the agreement.

(G) Any covert nuclear activities undertaken by Iran, including any covert nuclear weapons-related or covert fissile material activities or research and development.

(H) An assessment of whether any Iranian financial institutions are engaged in money laundering or terrorist finance activities, including names of specific financial institutions if applicable.

(I) Iran's advances in its ballistic missile program, including developments related to its long-range and inter-continental ballistic missile programs.

(J) An assessment of-

        (i) whether Iran directly supported, financed, planned, or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States or a United States person anywhere in the world;

        (ii) whether, and the extent to which, Iran supported acts of terrorism, including acts of terrorism against the United States or a United States person anywhere in the world;

       (iii) all actions, including in international fora, being taken by the United States to stop, counter, and condemn acts by Iran to directly or indirectly carry out acts of terrorism against the United States and United States persons;

       (iv) the impact on the national security of the United States and the safety of United States citizens as a result of any Iranian actions reported under this paragraph; and

        (v) all of the sanctions relief provided to Iran, pursuant to the agreement, and a description of the relationship between each sanction waived, suspended, or deferred and Iran's nuclear weapon's program.

(K) An assessment of whether violations of internationally recognized human rights in Iran have changed, increased, or decreased, as compared to the prior 180-day period.

 In addition, this section requires that,

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the status of the implementation and enforcement of bilateral United States and multilateral sanctions against Iran and actions taken by the United States and the international community to enforce such sanctions against Iran:  Provided, That the report shall alsoinclude any entities involved in the testing of a ballistic missile by the Government of Iran after October 1, 2015, and note whether such entities are currently under United States sanctions:  Provided further, That such report shall be submitted in an unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex if necessary.

(b) Iraq: Not covered in the Round-Up.

(d) Jordan: This section states that “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under titles III [Bilateral Economic Assistance] and IV [International Security Assistance], not less than $1,275,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for Jordan, of which not less than $204,000,000 shall be for budget support for the Government of Jordan and $100,000,000 shall be for water sector support:  Provided, That such assistance for water sector support shall be subject to prior consultation with the Committees on Appropriations.”

In addition, the section states that, “Funds appropriated by this Act shall be made available for programs to implement the Jordan Response Plan 2015 for the Syria Crisis, including assistance for host communities in Jordan:  Provided, That not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations describing United States and other donor contributions to such Plan.”

(e) Lebanon:  This section states bars funding “for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) or the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) if the ISF or the LAF is controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, as designated pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”  It also stipulates that INCLE and FMF funding “may be made available for programs and equipment for the ISF and the LAF to address security and stability requirements in areas affected by the conflict in Syria, following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees.

It also stipulates that ESF for Lebanon may be made available “notwithstanding section 1224 of Public Law 107–228.”  Section 1224 of Public Law 107–228 bars aid to Lebanon unless the President certifies that “(1) the armed forces of Lebanon have been deployed to the internationally recognized border between Lebanon and Israel; and (2) the Government of Lebanon is effectively asserting its authority in the area in which such armed forces have been deployed.”

In addition, the bill states that FMF “Lebanon may be made available only to professionalize the LAF and to strengthen border security and combat terrorism, including training and equipping the LAF to secure Lebanon's borders, interdicting arms shipments, preventing the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups, and to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.”  It also prohibits the obligation of assistance to the LAF “until the Secretary of State submits to the Committees on Appropriations a detailed spend plan, including actions to be taken to ensure equipment provided to the LAF is only used for the intended purpose” (noting that this plan is in addition to other notification requirements).The bill also stipulates that any notification of funding “shall include any funds specifically intended for lethal military equipment.

(f) Libya:  This section earmarks $20,000,000 “for assistance for Libya for programs to strengthen governing institutions and civil society, improve border security, and promote democracy and stability in Libya, and for activities to address the humanitarian needs of the people of Libya.” It goes on to stipulate that none of these funds may be used for assistance to Libya unless the Secretary of State reports to Congress that the government of Libya “is cooperating with United States Government efforts to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the attack on United States personnel and facilities in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012.” The text notes that this limitation shall not apply to funds made available for the purpose of protecting United States Government personnel or facilities. It also notes that, “The limitation on the uses of funds in section 7041(f)(2) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014 (division K of Public Law 113-76) shall apply to funds appropriated by this Act that are made available for assistance for Libya.” Finally, it requires that prior to the initial obligation of funds for Libya under this Act, “the Secretary of State shall certify and report to the Committees on Appropriations that all practicable steps have been taken to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of funds made available by this subsection for assistance for Libya, including a description of the vetting procedures to be used for recipients of assistance made available under title IV of this Act.

(g) Morocco:  This section stipulates that “funds appropriated under title III of this Act [Bilateral Assistance] shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara” and that “not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act and prior to the obligation of such funds the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on the proposed uses of such funds.”  It further states that “Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘Foreign Military Financing Program’ that are available for assistance for Morocco may only be used for the purposes requested in the Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2016.”

(h) Syria:  This section stipulates that:

Funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘Economic Support Fund’, ‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement', and ‘Peacekeeping Operations' shall be made available, notwithstanding any other provision of law except for this subsection, for non-lethal assistance for programs to address the needs of civilians affected by conflict in Syria, and for programs that seek to--

(A) establish governance in Syria that is representative, inclusive, and accountable;

(B) expand the role of women in negotiations to end the violence and in any political transition in Syria; (C) develop and implement political processes that are democratic, transparent, and adhere to the rule of law;

(D) further the legitimacy of the Syrian opposition through cross-border programs;

(E) develop civil society and an independent media in Syria;

(F) promote economic development in Syria;

(G) document, investigate, and prosecute human rights violations in Syria, including through transitional justice programs and support for nongovernmental organizations;

(H) counter extremist ideologies;

(I) assist Syrian refugees whose education has been interrupted by the ongoing conflict to complete higher education requirements at regional academic institutions; and

(J) assist vulnerable populations in Syria and in neighboring countries.

It also requires that:

Funds appropriated by this Act that are made available for assistance for Syria pursuant to the authority of this subsection shall be made available, on an open and competitive basis, for a program to strengthen the capability of Syrian civil society organizations to address the immediate and long-term needs of the Syrian people inside Syria in a manner that supports the sustainability of such organizations in implementing Syrian-led humanitarian and development programs and the comprehensive strategy required in section 7041(i)(3) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014 (division K of Public Law 113-76).

It also requires that funds appropriated by this Act that are made available for assistance for Syria pursuant to the authority of this subsection “may only be made available after the Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of relevant United States Government agencies, submits, in classified form if necessary, an update to the comprehensive strategy required in section 7041(i)(3) of Public Law 113-76.”  That section of law required the submission to appropriate congressional committees, in classified form if necessary, a comprehensive strategy,

...which shall include a clear mission statement, achievable objectives and timelines, and a description of inter-agency and donor coordination and implementation of such strategy:  Provided, That such strategy shall also include a description of oversight and vetting procedures to prevent the misuse of funds.

The Syria section of the bill also stipulates that prior to obligation of funds for Syria under this Act,

the Secretary of State shall take all practicable steps to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of such assistance inside Syria:  Provided, That the Secretary shall promptly inform the appropriate congressional committees of each significant instance in which assistance provided pursuant to this subsection has been compromised, to include the type and amount of assistance affected, a description of the incident and parties involved, and an explanation of the response of the Department of State.

And finally, this section stipulates that “Funds made available pursuant to this subsection may only be made available following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees, and shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.

(i) Tunisia:  This section provides that, “Of the funds appropriated under III [Bilateral Economic Assistance] and IV [International Security Assistance], of this Act, not less than $141,900,000 shall be made available for assistance for Tunisia.”

(j) West Bank and Gaza: 

General:  Part 1 of this section requires that prior to the obligation of any funds for the West Bank and Gaza, the Secretary of State shall report to Congress that the purpose of such assistance is to:  (A) advance Middle East peace; (B) improve security in the region; (C) continue support for transparent and accountable government institutions; (D) promote a private sector economy; or (E) address urgent humanitarian needs. 

Palestinians at the UN:  Part 2 lays out further limitations on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority (stipulations that continue to be mistakenly placed in this section, which is about the West Bank/Gaza aid program through NGOs, not PA funding, which is dealt with at length in Sec. 7040 of this bill, as discussed above).  In any case, Part 2(A) bars any funding for the PA if “the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” This section provides the Secretary of State the authority to waive the ban on assistance to the PA in the case where the Palestinians gain status at the UN if he “certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is in the national security interest of the United States, and submits a report to such Committees detailing how the waiver and the continuation of assistance would assist in furthering Middle East peace.”  No waiver is provided if the Palestinians go to the ICC.

Kicking the PLO Office Out of the U.S.:  Part 2(B) limits the President’s ability to waive the longstanding (and entirely anachronistic) law barring the PLO from having any representation in the United States.  Where for decades Congress granted the President a “clean” national security or national interests waiver of that prohibition (contained in section 1003 of Public Law 100-204, passed in 1987), in recent years Congress has moved to make such waiver contingent on the President certifying that the Palestinians have not, after the date of enactment of this Act, “obtained in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof the same standing as member states or full membership as a state outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.”

NEW: This year, in addition, the final bill adopted Senate language requiring that in order for the PLO office to stay open in the United States, the President must also to certify that the Palestinians have not, after the date of enactment of this Act, “taken any action with respect to the ICC that is intended to influence a determination by the ICC to initiate a judicially authorized investigation, or to actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

If the president cannot make this two-part certification, he must wait at least 90 days (during which, presumably, the PLO office has to be shut down), and then he may waive the law requiring him to kick the PLO out of the U.S. – but only for a limited period of time, and only if he can certify that “the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel [a requirement the fulfillment of which is not wholly under the Palestinians’ control].”    

Penalize Palestinians for Funding Families of Prisoners:  Part 3 of this section requires the Secretary of State to “reduce the amount of assistance made available by this Act under the heading ``Economic Support Fund'' for the Palestinian Authority by an amount the Secretary determines is equivalent to the amount expended by the Palestinian Authority as payments for acts of terrorism by individuals who are imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for acts of terrorism and by individuals who died committing acts of terrorism during the previous calendar year.” [It is presumed that Congress automatically considers trials of Palestinians by the Israeli military court system to be “fair,” notwithstanding the serious questions that have been raised about this system, including by Israeli military officials directly involved].  This provision also requires the Secretary to report to Congress “on the amount reduced for fiscal year 2016 prior to the obligation of funds for the Palestinian Authority.”

Security report: Part 4 of this section stipulates that “The reporting requirements contained in section 1404 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110-252) shall apply to funds made available by this Act, including a description of modifications, if any, to the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.” Section 1404 of PL 110-252 states:

Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act and 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report on assistance provided by the United States for the training of Palestinian security forces, including detailed descriptions of the training, curriculum, and equipment provided; an assessment of the training and the performance of forces after training has been completed; and a description of the assistance that has been pledged and provided to Palestinian security forces by other donors: Provided,  That not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, in classified form if necessary, on the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.

 

Sec. 7048: United Nations
Part (a) of this section deals with Transparency and Accountability at the UN (nothing specific to Israel or the Palestinians).

Part (b) states prohibits funding for anything having to do with any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN presided over by a country that the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.  The section also permits the Secretary of State to waive this ban if it is in the national interest of the United States. 

Part (c) bars funding for the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the Secretary determines and reports to Congress that “participation in the Council is important to the in the national interest of the United States and that the Council is taking steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.”  That report must also include “a description of the national interest served and the steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.” The Secretary must also report to Congress “not later than September 30, 2016, on the resolutions considered in the United Nations Human Rights Council during the previous 12 months, and on steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.”

Part (d) lays out reporting requirements relating to UNRWA, as follows:

Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report in writing to the Committees on Appropriations on whether the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is--

(1) utilizing Operations Support Officers in the West Bank, Gaza, and other fields of operation to inspect UNRWA installations and reporting any inappropriate use;{

(2) acting promptly to address any staff or beneficiary violation of its own policies (including the policies on neutrality and impartiality of employees) and the legal requirements under section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961;

(3) implementing procedures to maintain the neutrality of its facilities, including implementing a no-weapons policy, and conducting regular inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian or other appropriate purposes;

(4) taking necessary and appropriate measures to ensure it is operating in compliance with the conditions of section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and continuing regular reporting to the Department of State on actions it has taken to ensure conformance with such conditions;

(5) taking steps to ensure the content of all educational materials currently taught in UNRWA-administered schools and summer camps is consistent with the values of human rights, dignity, and tolerance and does not induce incitement;

(6) not engaging in operations with financial institutions or related entities in violation of relevant United States law, and is taking steps to improve the financial transparency of the organization; and

(7) in compliance with the United Nations Board of Auditors' biennial audit requirements and is implementing in a timely fashion the Board's recommendations.

Part (f) requires reporting to Congress on any U.S. contributions to international organizations that are withheld due to any provision of law [for example, U.S. funding to UNESCO, barred because UNESCO admitted the Palestinians as full members].

Sec. 7054: Landmines and Cluster Munitions
Perennial language barring military assistance, expert licenses, or sale of cluster munitions and cluster munitions technology unless the submunitions involved “do not result in more than 1 percent unexploded ordnance” and the applicable assistance/sale agreement “specifies that the cluster munitions will only be used against clearly defined military targets and will not be used where civilians are known to be present or in areas normally inhabited by civilians” or “such assistance, license, sale, or transfer is for the purpose of demilitarizing or permanently disposing of such cluster munitions.”

Sec. 7060: Sector Allocations
Part (g), entitled “Reconciliation Programs,” states that, “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings “Economic Support Fund” and “Development Assistance”, not less than $26,000,000 shall be made available to support people-to-people reconciliation programs which bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war: Provided, That the USAID Administrator shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations, prior to the initial obligation of funds, on the uses of such funds, and such funds shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations: Provided further, That to the maximum extent practicable, such funds shall be matched by sources other than the United States Government.”

 

Sec. 7068: Commercial Leasing of Defense Articles
Perennial provision:  “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations, the authority of section 23(a) of the Arms Export Control Act may be used to provide financing to Israel, Egypt, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and major non-NATO allies for the procurement by leasing (including leasing with an option to purchase) of defense articles from United States commercial suppliers, not including Major Defense Equipment (other than helicopters and other types of aircraft having possible civilian application), if the President determines that there are compelling foreign policy or national security reasons for those defense articles being provided by commercial lease rather than by government-to-government sale under such Act..”

Sec. 7076 (b): Spend Plans
This section stipulates, among other things, that “Prior to the initial obligation of funds, the Secretary of State or Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as appropriate, shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a detailed spend plan for funds made available by this Act, for—(A) assistance for Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the West Bank and Gaza…”

Sec. 7078: Global Internet Freedom
Part (b)(2) of this section stipulates that funds made available in this section shall be “made available to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State for programs to implement the May 2011, International Strategy for Cyberspace and the comprehensive strategy to promote Internet freedom and access to information in Iran, as required by section 414 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (22 U.S.C. 8754)…”

3. Omnibus: Other stuff

DIVISION M—Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016: This includes Section 514, requiring a regular reporting to Congress (every 180 days) on the “use by Iran of funds made available through sanctions relief.” This report shall include an assessment of the monetary value of sanctions relief, how Iran has used the funds, the extent to which it has used those funds for specific nefarious purposes [hard to see how this can be assessed, since money is fungible].

Division O – Other Matters: This includes Title II, “Terrorist Travel Prevention and Visa Waiver Program Reform,” discussed in Section 1 and Section 3, above, with respect to travel to Iran; discussed more broadly in the previous edition of the Round-Up).  It also includes Section 404, “Compensation for United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act (which includes a fund for former Tehran Embassy hostages and their families – for details, see here).

 

 

comments powered by Disqus