APN Legislative Round-Up: June 18 - July 1, 2016

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. FY17 ForOps Season Opens: House Bill
3. FY17 ForOps Season Opens: Senate Bill
4. Hearings
5. On the Record

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(MORE $$$ FOR ISRAEL IN NEW MOU) S. Res. 508: Introduced 6/22 by Rubio (R-FL) and having 21 cosponsors, “A resolution expressing support for the expeditious consideration and finalization of a new, robust, and long-term Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance to Israel between the United States Government and the Government of Israel.” The resolution’s “resolved” clauses clause with assert that the Senate: “supports a robust and long-term Memorandum of Understanding negotiated between the United States and Israel regarding military assistance that increases the amount of aid from previous agreements and significantly enhances Israel’s military capabilities.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Rubio and Coons (D-DE) issued a press release on the resolution here. Isakson (R-GA) issued a press release touting his support for the measure. Note: Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced similar (in places identical) text in the House - H. Res. 729 - back in 5/13/16; that resolution was scheduled for mark-up 6/24 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but that markup was postponed (no new date as of this writing).

(FY17 FOROPS – HOUSE AND SENATE) HR XXXX & S. 3117: The House and Senate are both moving forward with their respective versions of the FY17 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill (commonly referred to simply as the ForOps bill). The base text of the House bill was released 6/22 (a markup in the House Appropriations Committee’s ForOps Subcommittee, scheduled for 6/23, was postponed until 7/6). The Senate ForOps Subcommittee marked up its version on 6/28, and the full committee marked up, amended, and passed the bill on 6/29. For details if both bills, see Sections 2 and 3, below.

(IRAN AMDTS TO FY17 FINANCIAL SERVICES APPROPS BILL) HR 5485: On 6/15, the House Appropriations Committee reported out of committee the FY17 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. The bill then went to the House Rules Committee, which received amendments (which were due on 6/20) and decided which amendments would be made In Order and formulated a rule for consideration of the bill on the House floor. Consistent with the pattern seen over and over now with must-pass legislation (e.g., approps bills, the NDAA), numerous Iran-related amendments have been offered to the bill – all of which were made in order (meaning they will get a vote when the bill comes to floor). The following is a list of the Iran-related amendments. See this memo from NIAC analyzing the very problematic implications of each of these amendments. Consideration of the bill on the House floor was delayed due to…unusual…events on the floor last week.

  • Lance (R-NJ) #3: Prohibits funds from being used to give Iran access to the U.S. dollar.
  • Roskam (R-IL) #40: Prohibits any funds from being used to issue a license pursuant to any Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) memo regarding section 5.1.1 of Annex II to the JCPOA, including the OFAC memo titled, “Statement of Licensing Policy For Activities Related to the Export Or Re-Export to Iran of Commercial Passenger Aircraft and Related Parts and Services’’ and any other OFAC memo of the same substance.
  • Roskam (R-IL) #41: Prohibits any funds from being used to authorize a transaction by a U.S. financial institution (as defined under section 561.309 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations) that is ordinarily incident to the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • DeSantis (R-FL) # 136 (revised): Prohibits funds made available by the Act to be used to pay final judgments, awards, compromise settlements, or interest and costs specified in the judgments to Iran using amounts appropriated under section 1304 of title 31, United States Code, or interest from amounts appropriated under such section.
  • DeSantis (R-FL) #137: To prohibit funds made available by the Act to be used to circumvent the conditions of Section 104 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010.

(KILL BOEING-IRAN DEAL) HR 5550: Introduced 6/21 by Roskam (R-IL) and Boustany (R-LA), and having 7 cosponsors, the “No Dollars for Ayatollahs Act” [I swear I am not making that up – it is listed this way in Section 1 of the bill text). The bill would “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose an excise tax on United States dollar clearing done for the benefit of Iran or Iranian persons; to the Committee on Ways and Means.” Why would they want to do this? Let’s allow Roskam and Boustany to explain in their own words, in their own press release: Roskam, Boustany Fight Terror with New Tax Legislation Targeting Boeing Iran Deal.

(NO EX-IM AID TO IRAN) HR 5608: Introduced 6/28 by Roskam (R-IL) and having 13 cosponsors, “To prevent Iran from directly or indirectly receiving assistance from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.” Referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

(BAD DOG! WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON WBG HEALTH CONDITIONS!) H. Res. 798: Introduced 6/24 by Fleming (R-LA) and having 3 cosponsors, “A resolution affirming the votes of the eight countries including the United States opposing the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly resolution titled, ‘Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.’” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Fleming press release is here.

(KHOBAR TOWER BOMBING) S. Con. Res. 39: Introduced 5/19 by Nelson (D-FL) and having 4 cosponsors, “A concurrent resolution honoring the members of the United States Air Force who were casualties of the June 25, 1996, terrorist bombing of the United States Sector Khobar Towers military housing complex on Dhahran Air Base.” Brought to the floor and adopted by the Senate 6/23 by Unanimous Consent. A House version of the resolution, H. Con. Res. 133, is pending in the House Armed Services Committee.

(TELLING EU TO GET TOUGHER ON HIZBALLAH) S. Res. 482: Introduced 6/6 by Shaheen (D-NH) and having 20 cosponsors, “A resolution urging the European Union to designate Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and to increase pressure on the organization and its members to the fullest extent possible.” On 6/28, placed on the Senate Calendar. A House version, H. Res. 750, was scheduled for mark-up 6/24 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but that markup was postponed (no new date as of this writing.

 Letters

(REJECT FATF IRAN DECISION) Blumenthal et al letter to Treasury Secretary: On 6/30 Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) and 7 Democratic colleagues sent a letter to Secretary Treasury Lew opposing the decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to suspend counter measures currently in place against Iran concerning its money laundering and terrorist financing activities, arguing that the decision could embolden Iran’s terrorist financing. The letter urges Lew “to address these concerns with FATF and prevent any further attempts to reintegrate Iran into the international banking system, until Iran eliminates its entrenched practice of financing terrorism.” Press release from Menendez (D-NJ) is here. Warner (D-VA) press release is here.

(BAHRAIN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES) Murphy et al letter to Kerry: On 6/30, Sen. Murphy (D-CT) along with 7 Democratic colleagues sent a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging him to press the Government of Bahrain to protect the rights of its citizens and implement provisions that promote political and social reform and reconciliation among Bahrain’s diverse communities. The letter notes that the senators “are deeply alarmed by the severe deterioration of political space and human rights in Bahrain. In the last few weeks, the Bahraini government has taken a series of troubling steps targeting the country’s peaceful opposition, as well as nonviolent human rights defenders and members of civil society. Without an immediate reversal of these actions, we fear that tensions in Bahrain could quickly intensify and destabilize an important United States ally.”

(SPECIAL ENVOY FOR PALESTINIAN YOUTH) McCollum et al letter to Obama: On 6/20, Rep. McCollum (D-MN), along with 19 other House members, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to create a Special Envoy for Palestinian Youth. McCollum press release is here. A fact sheet explaining the rationale for the request for this new special envoy is here.

 

2. FY17 ForOps Season Opens: House Bill

On 6/23, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations was scheduled to mark up its version of the FY17 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill (commonly referred to simply as the ForOps bill); that mark-up was POSTPONED until further notice. In preparation for that markup, on 6/22 the committee released the text of the bill that the committee will be dealing with (press release here; full bill text here).

Middle East-related elements of the text that will (soon) be marked up by the Committee are as follows:

TITLE I -- DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY

Broadcasting Board of Governors, international broadcasting operations: Perennial language providing $758,267,000 “to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio 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.” 

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, 2017, 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, 2017, to remain available until expended.”

TITLE III -- BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUNDS – ESF (Total: $1,601,559,000)
Details for ESF for Middle East countries are laid out in section 7041 of the bill, discussed below.

MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE – MRA (Total: $771,096,000]
The bill stipulates that “$7,500,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.”

TITLE IV - INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE

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

The bill includes new language regarding funding for the IAEA, conditioning U.S. voluntary contributions to the IAEA on: “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.”

This section also includes a 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 $44,500,000 shall be made available for a United States contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.”

FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING – FMF (TOTAL: $4,795,612,000]
NOTE: See discussion under Title VII (Section 7041), for details of FMF for all Middle East countries except Israel.

Israel: The text earmarks “not less than $3,100,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel.” It also includes the perennial stipulations 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 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 in a lump sum within 30 days of the law passing, meaning that Israel can bank the money and earn interest on it (which it can spend however it likes). 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 just 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 used in Israel or other countries, 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. 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’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’état 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 (g) 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): Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Yemen.

Sec. 7021: Prohibition on assistance to governments supporting international terrorism
This provision prohibits funding to any country “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 for democracy programs, (as defined later in this provision). Part (e) states that funding and programs under this section “shall not be subject to the prior approval by the government of any foreign country.”

Sec. 7033: International Religious Freedom
Part (a) provides funding “for the Office of the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom and the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.”

Sec. 7034: Special Provisions
Part (m) of this section, entitled “Loan Guarantees and Enterprise Funds,” permits ESF funding to “be made available for the costs…of loan guarantees for Jordan, Ukraine, Iraq, and Tunisia, which are authorized to be provided…”

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. It is worth noting that this longstanding feature of U.S. law focuses squarely on the Arab Boycott of ISRAEL. Nowhere does it define “Israel” to mean “Israel and territories controlled by Israel,” as is happening today in the context of various pieces of legislation adopted or under consideration at the State and Federal level.

Sec. 7036: Palestinian statehood
Perennial provision barring assistance to a Palestinian state that does not meet a series of conditions (includes perennial 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 banning U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, along with Presidential waiver authority. The section also includes a perennial subsection entitled “Prohibition to Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization” (in effect lumping together a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, with the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people and NOT on the list of U.S.-designated FTO since that list was first published in 1997). This subsection bars funding to the PLO and 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.”

This formulation is clearly designed to make it difficult for the U.S. engage any kind of Palestinian power-sharing government that results from a future Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, or some other arrangements that lead to a national unity government or a mutually-agreed technocratic government (indeed, the text of the subsection evolved in recent years in response to Palestinian efforts to achieve such governments). Finally, the section does includes language of past bills stipulating that the 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.” It also includes the proviso that, “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.

Sec. 7041: Middle East and North Africa

Sec. 7041 (a). Egypt
Overarching conditions 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 States; and (B) meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.” This section also requires the Secretary of State to report to Congress every 90 days on the steps the Government of Egypt has taken to implement a similar (but in important ways not identical) list of actions:

(i) advance democracy and human rights in Egypt, including to govern democratically and protect religious minorities and the rights of women;

(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;

protect and advance the rights of women and religious minorities; and

(iii) improve the transparency and accountability of security forces.”

ESF: The bill stipulates that “up to $150,000,000 may be made available for assistance for Egypt” and notes that “such funds may also be made available for democracy programs and for programs that support development and security in the Sinai.” The text also notes that such funds “may not be made available for cash transfer assistance or budget support unless the Secretary of State certifies 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.” This text also stipulates that the Secretary of State shall withhold from ESF 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 ports 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 allocates “up to $1,300,000,000” in FMF for Egypt, and includes the longstanding provision allowing the funds to be transferred to an interest bearing account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The bill stipulates, as in the past, that not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on any plans to restructure military assistance for Egypt.

Sec. 7041 (b) Iran
This section states that funding in the bill (under Diplomatic and Consular Programs, ESF, and NADR) shall be used by the Secretary of State to: “(A) 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…

This section also states the terms and conditions of paragraph (2) of section 7041(c) in division I of PL 112-74 shall remain in effect. This section of law 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).

In addition, the bill requires the Secretary of State to submit two reports to Congress: (1)“the semi-annual report required by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4))”; and (2) 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 also include any entities involved in the development of a ballistic missile by the Government of Iran after October 1, 2015, including shipping and financing, and note whether such entities are currently under United States sanctions,” to be submitted to Congress not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 7041 (d) Jordan
This section earmarks “not less than $ 1,275,000,000” in ESF and FMF for Jordan. The text does not earmark specific amounts for either ESF or FMF, but states that of this total, “not less than $375,000,000 shall be for budget support for the Government of Jordan.”

Sec. 7041 (e) Lebanon
This section 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.”

 In addition, the bill states that FMF “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 purposes” (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.

Sec. 7041 (g) Morocco
This section stipulates that funds appropriated under title III of this Act for assistance to Morocco “shall also be made available for any region or territory administered by Morocco, including the Western Sahara.” It further states that “not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act and prior to the obligation of such funds the Secretary of State shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on the requirements described under this section in the report accompanying this Act.” The section also includes new language stating, “The Secretary of State shall take all practicable steps to secure the cooperation of the Government of Algeria for the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees to conduct a census of the refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria.”

Sec. 7041 (h) Syria
This section states that “Funds appropriated under title III of this Act shall be made available, notwithstanding any other provision of law except 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.” This section also lays out requirements for consultation, monitoring, and oversight of assistance to Syria.

Sec. 7041 (i) Tunisia
This section earmarks “not less than $160,400,000” for Tunisia, from funds provided under titles III and IV of this Act. It includes no conditions or stipulations on this funding.

Sec. 7041 (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/ICC: Part 2 lays out further limitations on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority, barring 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 judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” No authority is provided for the president to waive this ban on assistance, even for the sake of U.S. national security interests.

Kicking the PLO Office Out of the U.S.: Part 2(B) limits the President’s ability to waive longstanding (and 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), this bill, like those of the past few years, makes such waiver conditional on the President being able to certify that the Palestinians have not gained membership in any UN agency and have not initiated or “actively supported” an ICC investigation against Israeli nationals “for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” In the event the president cannot make the required 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 whose fulfillment is not wholly under the Palestinians’ control].”

No Funding for 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.”

Reports: Part 4 stipulates that “The reporting requirements contained in section 1404 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110-252) [requiring a report on training programs and equipment for Palestinian security forces] shall apply to funds made available by this Act, including a description of modifications, if any, to the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.” Part 5 stipulates that “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel.”

Sec. 7048: United Nations
Part (a) of this now perennial section deals with Transparency and Accountability at the UN.

Part (b) 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. Does not include any waiver authority.

Part (c) prohibits U.S. funding to the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State reports that participation in the Council is in the national interest of the United States and that “the Council is taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.” Such report “shall include a description of the national security interest served and the steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.” In addition, the section requires that “shall report to the Committees on Appropriations not later than September 30, 2017, 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) states that none MRA funds may be made available as a contribution to URNWA “until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations” that 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) states that “The restrictions imposed by or pursuant to subsection (d) may be waived on a case-by-case basis by the Secretary of State if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such waiver is necessary to avert or respond to a humanitarian crisis.”

Part (g) 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. 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
“Prior to the initial obligation of funds, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a detailed spend plan for funds made available by this Act, for— (A) assistance for Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the West Bank and Gaza …”

 

3. FY17 ForOps Season Opens: Senate Bill

On 6/28, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations marked up and adopted base text of the bill (not available online as of this writing). The committee also dealt with a managers’ package of amendments (amendments that both Majority and Minority leadership had already agreed to). Video of markup is here. Committee Republicans and Democrats each issued their own press release touting adoption of the bill.

On 6/29, the full Senate Appropriations Committee marked up, adopted and reported out of committee its version of the FY17 ForOps bill, in the form of S. 3117 (committee report here). The committee adopted an amendment from Kirk (R-IL) adding to the bill his anti-BDS/pro-settlements legislation (giving a green light for states to adopt unconstitutional laws). That amendment was adopted by a vote of 21-9. Kirk’s press release touting adoption of the amendment is here. AIPAC and the AJC both praised the committee for adopting the measure. APN STRONGLY OPPOSES THIS PROVISION, as covered in detail below. In addition, the Committee adopted an amendment from Lankford (R-OK) requiring a detailed report to Congress on the $1.7 billion (fund belonging to Iran) transferred to by the U.S. to Iran (Lankford’s press release touting adoption of his amendment, and making clear the amendment’s intent, is here). Committee Republicans and Democrats each (again) issued their own press release touting adoption of the bill.

Middle East-related elements in the bill and the accompanying Report (laying out the Committee’s intent), as adopted by the Committee, are below. Note: Funding discussed below includes regular funding provided as part of the budget for foreign affairs, and funding for “overseas contingency operations” (OCO), which is a separate pot of money that came into existence in the era of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. OCO operates as a kind of congressionally-approved slush fund to finance security-related expenses (which started with the aforementioned wars) that would otherwise bust the budgets of the relevant agencies. OCO was critical during the Bush era to financing those wars and related costs, and OCO has since then become a fixture of foreign affairs and national security appropriations. For more, read here.

TITLE I -- DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY

Broadcasting Board of Governors, international broadcasting operations: The bill provides $762,993,000 “to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio 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.”

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, 2017, 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, 2017, to remain available until expended.”

The report accompanying the bill notes: “The Committee continues to recognize the value of virtual exchanges as a means to broaden understanding and engagement between youth in the United States, Middle East, and North Africa in a cost-effective manner, and recommends $5,000,000 for the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange program. The Committee intends that funds are made available for this program on a cost-matching basis, to the maximum extent practicable.”

TITLE III -- BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUNDS – ESF (Total: 1,221,925,000)
Details for ESF for Middle East countries are laid out in section 7041 of the bill, discussed below. The funding table contained in report accompanying the bill lays out ESF for the Near East as follows:

Egypt: $75,000,000 (all OCO, of which $10,000,000 is for scholarships)
Iraq: $332,500,000 (all OCO, some earmarked for specific uses)
Jordan: $632,400,000 (all OCO)
Lebanon: $110,000,000 (all OCO, of which $14,000,000 is for scholarships)
Libya: $15,000,000 (all OCO)
Morocco: $20,000,000
Syria: $175,000,000 (all OCO, of which $2,500,000 is for Religious Freedom Transitional Justice, Reconciliation, and Reintegration Programs)
Tunisia: $79,000,000 (all OCO)
West Bank and Gaza: $266,750,000
Yemen: $ 40,000,000 (all OCO)
Middle East Multilaterals: $875,000
Middle East Partnership Initiative: $60,000,000 (of which $12,000,000 is for scholarships)
Middle East Regional Cooperation: $5,000,000
Near East Regional Democracy: $32,000,000
USAID Middle East Regional: $19,950,000
Reconciliation Programs: $10,000,000
Subtotal, Near East: $1,873,475,000 (of which $1,458,900,000 is OCO)

MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE – MRA (Total: $931,886,000)
The bill stipulates that “$7,500,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.”

 

TITLE IV - INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE)

This section includes funding for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE). The funding table accompanying the reports lays out INCLE funding for the Near East as follows:

Egypt: $2,000,000
Lebanon: $ 10,000,000 (all OCO)
Libya: $1,000,000 (all OCO)
Morocco: $5,000,000
Syria: $1,000,000 (all OCO)
Tunisia: $13,000,000 (all OCO)
West Bank & Gaza: $35,000,000 (all OCO)
Yemen: $1,000,000 (all OCO)
Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership: $2,000,000 (all OCO)
Subtotal, Near East: $70,000,000 (of which $63,000,000 is OCO)

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

The bill includes new language regarding funding for the IAEA, conditioning U.S. voluntary contributions to the IAEA on: “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.” This section also includes a 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 $44,500,000 shall be made available for a United States contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.” The accompanying report notes: “The Committee recommends not less than $44,500,000 for the MFO, and supports its mission to supervise the implementation of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace. The Committee commends the efforts of the Director General to ensure the safety and security of force contributors in the Sinai.” The funding table accompanying the reports lays out PKO funding for the Near East as follows:

Syria: $50,000,000 (all OCO)
Multinational Force and Observers: $44,500,000
Subtotal, Near East: $94,500,000

International Military Education and Training – IMET
The funding table accompanying the reports lays out IMET funding for the Near East as listed below. It should be noted that IMET is used to fund U.S. training and programs with foreign militaries, reflecting U.S. priorities – it is not aid handed over to foreign countries

Algeria: $1,400,000
Bahrain: $800,000
Egypt: $1,800,000
Iraq: $1,000,000
Jordan: $4,000,000
Lebanon: $2,750,000
Morocco: $2,000,000
Oman: $2,000,000
Saudi Arabia: $10,000,000
Tunisia: $2,300,000
Subtotal, Near East: $18,060,000

FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING – FMF (TOTAL: $4,988,365,000)
See Section 7041, below, for details of FMF provisions for all countries except Israel. The funding table accompanying the reports lays out FMF funding for the Near East as follows:

Bahrain: $5,000,000
Egypt: $ 1,300,000,000
Iraq: $150,000,000 (all OCO)
Israel: $3,400,000,000
Jordan: $350,000,000 (all OCO)
Lebanon: $105,000,000 (all OCO)
Morocco: $ 5,000,000 (all OCO)
Tunisia: $45,000,000 (all OCO)
Subtotal, Near East: $5,360,000,000 (of which $655,000,000 is OCO)

Israel: The bill stipulates that “not less than $3,400,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel, which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act.” The text also stipulates that “…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.

The accompanying report notes: “The Committee recommends $3,400,000,000 for assistance for Israel under the FMF heading, which is $300,000,000 above the President's budget request. The Committee supports such additional assistance for Israel given the persistent deteriorating security situation in the Middle East.”

NOTE: As highlighted previously in the Round-Up, these little-remarked stipulations – early disbursal 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 in a lump sum within 30 days of the law passing, meaning that Israel can bank the money and earn interest on it (which it can spend however it likes). 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 just 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 used in Israel or other countries, 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’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’état 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
his 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 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. 7024: Near East and Africa Relief and Recovery Fund
This provisions allocates (and lays out extensive requirements regarding the use of) not less than $25 million for assistance “for areas liberated from, or under the influence of, extremist organizations in and around the Near East and Africa regions.”

Sec. 7032: Democracy Programs
Part (a) of this section earmarks not less than $ 2,576,000,000 for democracy programs, (as defined later in this provision), and sub-earmarks “not less than $429,515,000 for the Near East region, of which not less than $32,000,000 shall be made available for the Near East Regional Democracy program and not less than $55,000,000 shall be made available for democracy programs for Iraq under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’.”

Part (d) 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 (a) stipulates that, “not less than $2,000,000 shall be made available for the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia…”

Part (b) notes that “not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act and after consultation with relevant central governments in the Middle East and North Africa regions, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a plan for transitional justice, reconciliation, and reintegration programs for vulnerable and persecuted religious minorities in such regions…”

The report accompanying the bill notes that: “The Secretary of State is required to develop a plan for transitional justice, reconciliation, and persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, and the Committee recommends not less than $5,000,000 under the ESF heading to implement such plan, to be matched to the maximum extent practicable from sources other than the U.S. Government and which are in addition to funds otherwise available for such purposes.”

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.”

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, Iraq, and Tunisia, which are authorized to be provided…”

Part h repeals a report required under Public Law 109–446, requiring an annual report to Congress on programs sponsored and proposed to be sponsored by the “Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Reconciliation and Democracy Fund.”

Part (o)(3), entitled “Enterprise Funds,” stipulates that ESF funds may be made available “to establish and operate one or more enterprise funds for Egypt and Tunisia,” subject to various provisos.

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. It is worth noting that this longstanding feature of U.S. law focuses squarely on the Arab Boycott of ISRAEL. Nowhere does it define “Israel” to mean “Israel and territories controlled by Israel,” as is happening today in the context of various pieces of legislation adopted or under consideration at the State and Federal level.

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 banning U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, along with Presidential waiver authority. The section also includes a perennial subsection entitled “Prohibition to Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization” (in effect lumping together a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, with the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people and NOT on the list of U.S.-designated FTO since that list was first published in 1997). This subsection bars funding to the PLO and 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.”

This formulation is clearly designed to make it difficult for the U.S. engage any kind of Palestinian power-sharing government that results from a future Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, or some other arrangements that lead to a national unity government or a mutually-agreed technocratic government (indeed, the text of the subsection evolved in recent years in response to Palestinian efforts to achieve such governments). Finally, the section does includes language of past bills stipulating that the 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.” It also includes the proviso that, “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.”

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.

 

Sec. 7041: Middle East and North Africa
The funding table contained in the report accompanying the bill lays out FY17 Near East funding as follows (Palestinians included in a separate table):

Bahrain – $5,000,000
Egypt - $1,300,000,000
Iraq - $150,000,000 (OCO)
Israel - $3,400,000,000
Jordan - $350,000,000 (OCO)
Lebanon - $105,000,000 (OCO)
Morocco - $5,000,000 (OCO)
Tunisia - $45,000,000 (OCO)

Sec. 7041(a). Egypt
The funding table contained in the report accompanying the breaks down FY17 funding for Egypt as follows: ESF: $75,000,000; INCLE: $2,000,000; NADR: $3,000,000; IMET: $1,800,000; FMF: $1,300,000,000; Total, Egypt: $1,381,800,000

Overall conditions on aid: This section states funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for Egypt “may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law restricting assistance for Egypt, except for section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and may only be made available for assistance for the Government of Egypt 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 States; and (B) meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.”

Note: Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 states that “No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” It adds that this prohibition “shall not apply if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective steps to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.” Given certain events in Egypt in recent months (perhaps most glaringly the torture/murder of an Italian graduate student), inclusion of this reference is important.

ESF: The bill stipulates that “up to $75,000,000 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 for Egyptian students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit institutions of higher education that meet standards equivalent to those required for United States institutional accreditation by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education: 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.'"

This section further stipulates that ESF funding appropriated for Egypt may be re-programmed for programs outside of Egypt “if the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is prohibiting, or otherwise interfering with, the conduct or operations of programs supported by such funds.”

FMF: The bill allocates up to $1,300,000,000 in FMF for assistance for Egypt, to remain available until September 30, 2018 (and stipulates that these funds may be transferred to the interest bearing account). It stipulates that 15 percent of that amount shall be withheld until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is taking effective steps to:

(1) “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”;
(2) “implement reforms that protect freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, including the ability of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and the media to function without interference”;
(3) “release political prisoners and provide detainees with due process of law; ”
(4) “hold Egyptian security forces accountable, including officers credibly alleged to have violated human rights”;
(5) “investigate and prosecute cases of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, including the torture and murder of Giulio Regeni, a University of Cambridge doctoral student;” and
(6) “provide regular access for United States officials to monitor such assistance in areas where the assistance is used.”

The section further stipulates that the Secretary of State may waive the certification requirement (which in any case applies only to 15 percent of the aid), “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 of subparagraph (A) 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 not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act to “consult with the Committees on Appropriations on any plan to restructure military assistance for Egypt.”

In addition, the report accompanying the bill states: “…Section 7041(a) of the act recommends up to $75,000,000 for assistance for Egypt under the ESF heading and $1,300,000,000 under the FMF heading. Conditions on assistance for Egypt are similar to the prior fiscal year, except that the Committee provides authority to reprogram funds under the ESF heading in the act and prior acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs if the Secretary of State determines that the Government of Egypt is prohibiting, or otherwise interfering with, the conduct or operations of programs supported by such funds. The Committee is concerned with reports that cooperation between the Governments of the United States and Egypt on non-security programs is lacking, resulting in an ESF pipeline totaling $328,000,000 in unobligated funds, and $675,000,000 in obligated but unexpended funds…Despite repeated efforts to encourage political and economic reforms and public affirmations by the Government of Egypt of the importance of the U.S.-Egyptian partnership, the Committee is dismayed that many NGOs remain unregistered and are prevented from working in Egypt for the benefit of the Egyptian people; the June 2013 political charges against democracy NGOs fester; and a full accounting of all individuals in Egyptian custody has yet to occur. The Committee is also concerned with the increasing repression in Egypt aimed at silencing critics of the government. Section 7041(a)(2)(A) of the act recommends not less than $10,000,000 for Egyptian students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit institutions of higher education that meet standards equivalent to those required for U.S. institutional accreditation by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Students should be eligible for scholarships based on need, outstanding academic record, and leadership potential to contribute to the long-term political, economic, and social development of Egypt. The curriculum of such institutions should encourage critical thinking and be taught in the English language. Section 7034(o)(3) of the act provides authority for an enterprise fund for Egypt. The Committee notes the extension of legal protection regarding the conviction of democracy NGOs issued by the Cairo Criminal Court on June 4, 2013 was made permanent by section 7034(d)(4) of division K of Public of Public Law 114-113.”

 Sec. 7041(b) Iran
This section states that funding in the bill (under Diplomatic and Consular Programs, ESF, and NADR) shall be used by the Secretary of State to: “(A) 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…

This section states the terms and conditions of paragraph (2) of section 7041(c) in division I of PL 112-74shall remain in effect. This is:

(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).

Finally, this section requires the Secretary of State to submit a number of reports to Congress:

(A) the semi-annual report required by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4)).

(B) Not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act, 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 also include any entities involved in providing significant support for the development of a ballistic missile by the Government of Iran after October 1, 2015, and note whether such entities are currently under United States sanctions…

(C) Not later than 30 days after the enactment of this Act, detailed far-reaching report “with respect to a transfer to Iran of $1,700,000,000 that was overseen by the Department of the Treasury and announced on January 17, 2016,” covering a list of specific issues stipulated in this subsection (a list that appears to disclose a politically motivated fishing expedition grounded in criticism of the transfer of these funds). This last report was added to the bill by the Lankford (R-OK) amendment in full committee, adopted by a voice vote.

The report accompanying the bill notes: “Section 7041(b) of the act continues provisions regarding Iran that are similar to the prior fiscal year. The Committee recognizes the importance of ensuring that Iran's nuclear weapons program remains inactive and appropriate steps are taken in response to any violation of the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Not later than 180 days after the enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall update the report required under this heading in Senate Report 114-79 regarding steps taken to implement section 415 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (Public Law 112-158).” NOTE: This last report requirement was added during the Committee markup of the bill, by an amendment from Kirk (R-IL), adopted as part of the managers’ package of amendments.

Sec. 7041 (d) Jordan
The funding table in the report accompanying the bill breaks down funding for Jordan as follows: ESF - $632,400,000; NADR - $13,600,000; and IMET - $4,000,000.

This bill text stipulates that “not less than $1,000,000,000” in ESF and FMF for Jordan [it does not earmark specific amounts for either ESF or FMF]. Additional funds appropriated by this Act “shall be made available for programs to implement the Jordan Compact Action Plan and the Jordan Response Plan for the Syria Crisis 2016–2018, including assistance for host communities in Jordan: Provided, That such funds are in addition to amounts otherwise available for such purposes.”

The report notes that “The Committee recommends $1,000,000,000 for assistance for Jordan. Additional assistance is available under the IDA and MRA headings to address needs arising from refugees in Jordan from neighboring countries, including for communities hosting such refugees.”

Sec. 7041 (e) Lebanon
The funding table in the report accompanying the bill breaks down funding for Lebanon as follows: ESF - $110,000,000; INCLE - $10,000,000; NADR - $5,760,000; IMET - $2,750,000; and FMF - $105,000. TOTAL: $233,510,000

This bill text 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 (8 U.S.C. 1189).” 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 Lebanon, including 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 “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 bill text also prohibits the obligation of assistance to the LAF “until the Secretary of State submits to the Committees on Appropriations a spend plan, including actions to be taken to ensure equipment provided to the LAF is only used for the intended purposes” (and noting that this plan is in addition to other notification requirements).  Finally, the bill stipulates that any notification of funding “shall include any funds specifically intended for lethal military equipment.”

The report accompanying the bill notes: “…sections 620A and 620G of the FAA restrict assistance to any country the Secretary of State determines has repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism and require the withholding of assistance to the government of any country that provides assistance to such country so determined by the Secretary, respectively. Hezbollah has been designated a FTO pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), as amended, since 1997. The Committee again expects that no funds made available by the act will directly or indirectly benefit or otherwise legitimize Hezbollah, including within the Government of Lebanon, or any other FTO operating in Lebanon. The Committee recommends $14,000,000 for scholarships for students in Lebanon with high financial need at not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet standards comparable to those required for U.S. accreditation, to be awarded on a competitive basis, of which up to $2,000,000 is for a pilot program at such institutions to establish a degree and/or certificate program for refugees who have completed secondary education.”

Sec. 7041 (g) Morocco
This subsection stipulates 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 2017.”

Sec. 7041 (h) Syria
The funding table in the report accompanying the bill breaks down funding for Syria as follows: ESF - $175,000,000; INCLE - $1,000,000; NADR - $12,470,000; and PKO - $50,000,000. TOTAL: $238,470,000

This bill text states that non-lethal assistance may be made available to Syria, notwithstanding any other provision of law, for programs that satisfy a list of goals laid out in the text (related to governance, empowerment of women, democracy and the rule of law, helping the Syrian opposition, helping Syrian civil society, promoting stability, fighting human rights abuses, helping refugees, assisting vulnerable populations, preserving the cultural identity and heritage sites of the people of Syria, and countering extremism in Syria).

It also stipulates that NADR funding may be made available “for explosive ordnance disposal programs in areas liberated from extremist organizations in Syria: Provided, That such programs should utilize local organizations and individuals to the maximum extent practicable.”

It further stipulates that funds made available for assistance to Syria under 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.” It also lays out monitoring, oversight, consultation and notification requirements.

The report accompanying the bill notes that “The Committee remains concerned with the impact of the Syrian crisis on the people of Syria, the economic and political stability of neighboring countries, and growth of nationalism and intolerance in Europe and elsewhere. Section 7041(h) of the act continues directives and requirements regarding the provision of non-lethal assistance for Syria, and monitoring and oversight of such assistance, in a manner similar to the prior fiscal year. Funds shall be made available for programs to build the capacity of Syrian civil society, including through core support, to address the immediate and long-term needs of the Syrian people inside Syria. The Committee believes an effective antidote to extremism in Syria--in addition to the armed response--is strengthening the cultural identity of Syrians, particularly those seeking refuge abroad, and the protection of cultural heritage sites. The Committee recommends that funds be made available for such purposes, and directs the Secretary of State to report to the Committee on plans for the use of such funds prior to obligation.”

Sec. 7041 (i) Tunisia
The funding table in the report accompanying the bill breaks down funding for Syria as follows: ESF - $79,000,000; INCLE - $13,000,000; NADR - $6,100,000; IMET - $2,300,000; FMF - $45,000,000. TOTAL: $145,400,000

This subsection earmarks “not less than $145,400,000” for Tunisia, from funds provided under titles III and IV of this Act. Of the ESF portion of these funds, it states that no less than $28,300,000 “shall be made available for democracy programs” and not less than $5,000,000 shall be for programs engaging Tunisian youth in political process and programs empowering regional and local governing council. It also states that the Department of State and USAID “shall consult on the uses of funds appropriated by this Act for democracy programs for Tunisia prior to the obligation of such funds.”

The report notes that: “The Committee recognizes the obstacles to the entrenchment of democracy and the rule of law in Tunisia, and remains concerned that extremism could have a lasting foothold in that country unless the Government of Tunisia implements meaningful economic and educational reforms that benefit the country's youth. This will require the full cooperation and participation of old regime elites in Tunisia. The Committee is aware of the impact that instability and violence in Libya has on Tunisia, and encourages regional cooperation with Algeria and Morocco to mitigate such threats. Section 7041(i) of the act recommends $5,000,000 above the President's budget request under the ESF heading for targeted democracy programs to engage Tunisian youth in political processes and to empower local governance structures to engage more fully with respective constituencies. Sections 7034(o)(1) and (3) of the act provides authority for loan guarantees and an enterprise fund for Tunisia. The Committee recognizes the Tunisian American Enterprise Fund's [TAEF] achievements to date, and the inherent challenges of operating in Tunisia. As TAEF enters a period of substantial and frequent investment, some elements within the Government of Tunisia may seek to influence TAEF's operations and practices. The Committee underscores the independence of TAEF to make its own investment decisions, and requests the Board of Directors to periodically update the Committee on any efforts by Tunisian entities to interfere in TAEF's operations and practices. TAEF's annual report on administrative expenses shall be submitted to Congress not later than January 31, 2017, for the preceding year.”

Sec. 7041 (j) West Bank and Gaza
The funding table in the report accompanying the bill lays out FY17 funding for the West Bank and Gaza as follows: $255,750,000 (ESF); $35,000,000 (INCLE); and $1,000,000 (NADR). TOTAL: $302,750,000

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 & ICC: Part 2 lays out further limitations on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority. 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 longstanding (and entirely anachronistic) legislation 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), in recent years Congress 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” or “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 that 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 whose fulfillment is not wholly under the Palestinians’ control].

No Funding for 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 expended by the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated organizations with such entities 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 also requires the Secretary to report to Congress “on the amount reduced for fiscal year 2017 prior to the obligation of funds for the Palestinian Authority.

The report accompanying the bill notes that, “Concurrent with the submission of the report required by section 7041(j)(3) of the act regarding payments for acts of terrorism, the Secretary of State shall submit a report describing actions the Department of State has taken to encourage the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization to terminate such payments.”

Security report: Part 4 states 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.”

Transfer of funds: Part 5 authorizes up to $35,000,000 of the assistance made available for the West Bank to be “transferred to, and merged with, funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’ for Palestinian security sector programs: Provided, That such transfer authority is in addition to any transfer authority otherwise available under any provision of law, and shall be subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.

The report accompanying the bill notes that “Section 7041(j)(5) of the act recommends transfer authority for up to $35,000,000 of funds appropriated for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza under the ESF heading to the INCLE heading to support the Palestinian security program. The Committee notes that the President's budget request reduced this program by $35,000,000 below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. The Committee recognizes the importance of the Palestinian security program to the shared interests of the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians.”

The report also states: “Not later than 180 days after enactment of the act, the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority shall submit to the Committee a multi-year strategy for the provision of security assistance to the Palestinian Authority, including details on programs and assistance required for the implementation of such strategy.” And “Not later than 90 days after enactment of the act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees describing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence.”

Sec. 7041 (k) Western Sahara
This subsection stipulates that “funds appropriated under title III of this Act may be made available for assistance for the people of the Western Sahara following consultation with the Committees on Appropriations: Provided, That nothing in this Act shall be construed to change the policy of the United States to find a peaceful, sustainable, and mutually agreed-upon solution for the Western Sahara.”

Sec. 7041 (l) Yemen
This subsection states that not less than $46,884,000 shall be made available for assistance for Yemen, out of ESF, INCLE, and NADR funding. It stipulates that “no such funds may be made available for significant infrastructure projects.

Sec. 7048: United Nations
Part (a) of this section deals with Transparency and Accountability at the UN.

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) permits funding for the United Nations Human Rights Council only if the Secretary reports to Congress that “participation in the Council is in the national interest of the United States and that the Council is taking credible steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item,” including in that report “a description of the national interest served and a description of steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item” as well as reporting to Congress “not later than September 30, 2017, 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.”

Note: The report accompanying the bill notes that, “The Committee remains concerned with the anti-Israel bias of the Council, particularly as reflected in the March 2016 resolution on business enterprises engaged in Israeli settlements (A/HRC/31/L.39).” [!!!]

Part (d) requires a report, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, on whether 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 (g) 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) states that “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’, ‘‘Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia’’, 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. 7078: Global Internet Freedom
Part (B)(1)(b) of this subsection stipulates that funds made available under 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; the Department of State International Cyberspace Policy Strategy required by section 402 of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 (division of Public Law 114–113); 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).”

The funding table contained in the report accompanying the bill earmarks under the heading of Global Internet Freedom $9,000,000 in ESF funding for the Near East Regional Democracy Program.

 

Title IX – Matters Relating to Israel (NEW!!!!)

This section appends the “Combating BDS Act of 2016” to the ForOps bill (previously introduced in both the House and Senate as freestanding legislation – S. 2531 and HR 4514. Among other things, this legislation explicitly defines “targeting Israel” to include actions targeting Israeli-controlled territories – code for settlements. This legislation comes in the context of efforts across the country to adopt anti-BDS/pro-settlements legislation in state legislatures – legislation that in many cases is clearly unconstitutional. A comprehensive look at state-level legislation is here. The “Combating BDS Act of 2016” would give a Congressional green light to, as well as encouragement and legal cover for, such efforts (including inoculating those who divest/boycott based on anti-BDS/pro-settlement laws from being sued).

APN OPPOSES THIS LEGISLATIVE EFFORT IN ALL OF ITS FORMS – OUR POLICY REGARDING LEGISLATION TARGETING BDS, AS WELL AS LEGISLATION CONFLATING ISRAEL AND SETTLEMENTS, IS AVAILABLE HERE.

This section was added to the bill during the full committee markup, with an amendment from Kirk (R-IL) adopted by a vote of 21-9. This is, notably, the ONLY title in the entire bill dedicated exclusively to a single country.

 

4. Hearings

7/6: The House Foreign Affairs Committee may be holding a hearing entitled “Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Barriers to Peace” (as announced in this HFAC’s press release, according to which the hearing “will give members an opportunity to examine the challenges of Israeli-Palestinian peace and the role the U.S. can play to facilitate direct negotiations”). Or it may be holding a hearing entitled “Financially Rewarding Terrorism in the West Bank” (as the hearing is listed on the HFAC webpage for the actual hearing). Either way, the scheduled witnesses for what promises to be highly serious, constructive hearing with zero grandstanding or point-scoring, are: David Pollock (WINEP); Yigal Carmon (MEMRI); and Robert Wexler (S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace).

7/6: The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations will hold a markup of the FY17 ForOps Approps bill (rescheduled).

6/29: The Senate Appropriations Committee held a markup of the FY17 ForOps Approps bill. Audio is here.

 

5. On the Record

Terrorist Attack in the West Bank

Cruz (R-TX) 6/30: Condemning the terrorist attack in Kiryat Arba (which according to his press release is located in Israel), and suggesting that “This attack, just like the attack in the Orlando nightclub, was not random violent extremism. It was the same radical Islamic terrorism that has been targeting innocents from San Bernardino to Brussels.

Kirk (R-IL) 6/30: “Kirk Statement on Fatal Stabbing of 13-Year-Old American Girl by Palestinian in West Bank” – blaming the attack exclusively on incitement by Palestinian leaders [he does get credit for stating that Kiryat Arba is a West Bank settlement and not in Israel]

Cardin (D-MD) 6/30: Cardin Statement on Murder of American Citizen in West Bank

Financial Action Task Force/Iran Decision

Hoyer (D-MD) 6/27: Hoyer Statement on the Financial Action Task Force's Decision on Iran

Rothfus (R-PA) 6/27: Financial Action Task Force Rewards Iran Despite Continued Terror Financing

Engel (D-NY) 6/26: Engel Statement on Troubling FATF Decision on Iran

Cotton (R-AR) 6/24: Cotton Statement on the Financial Action Task Force’s Announcement on Iranian Restrictions

Kirk (R-IL) 6/24: Kirk Statement on Anti-Money Laundering Group’s Decision to Keep Iran on Terror-Financing Blacklist

Royce (R-CA) 6/24: Press release - FATF: Iran Remains a “Terrorist Financing Risk” & “Threat” to “International Financial System”

Pompeo (R-KS) 6/21: Pompeo Urges FATF to Remain Strong Against Iran

General

MCain (R-AZ) 6/30: McCain on Navy investigation of Iranian seizure of U.S. sailors

Coons (D-DE) 6/30: Senator Coons helps secure funding to defend Israel, support IAEA, and more in annual appropriations bill

Ryan (R-WI) 6/29: Blogpost (authored by Michael Shapiro) - Businesses are right to be wary about Iran

Kirk (R-IL) 6/29: Kirk Secures Increased Aid For Israel and Foreign Assistance Programs To Advance U.S. Initiatives Abroad

Reid (D-NV) 6/27: On the 20th Anniversary of the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia

Delaney (D-MD) 6/24: Clarifying that he meant to vote in favor of amendment to the House NDAA that would have prohibited sale of cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia

Coons (D-DE) 6/23: REMARKS AS PREPARED: Senator Coons speaks at Council on Foreign Relations on ‘one year since the Iran nuclear deal’

Graham (R-SC) 6/22: Lengthy floor statement on Syria, Iraq, ISIL, “radical Islam,” etc… Along the way slamming the Obama Admin’s policies in the region (“The bottom line is Iran is running wild… When it comes to Iran, we have empowered the most tyrannical regime on the planet, I think, by giving them $150 billion to put in their war machine. They will have a pathway to a bomb and a missile to deliver it even if they do not cheat under this agreement.”

Inhofe (R-OK) 6/22: Using Orlando terrorist attack as platform to attack Obama Admin’s Iran policy

Perdue (R-GA) 6/21: On Facebook, slamming the Obama Admin’s Iran policy and raising issue of uranium found in Iran

Lamborn (R-CO) 6/21: And apparently running for the “Best Impersonation of Louis Gohmert Going on an Irrational Rant” award, Lamborn published an oped in the Algemeiner slamming the Obama Admin for its “Awful Response to Palestinian Terror.” In it oped defends Israeli collective punishment (including banning travel for thousands of Palestinians by canceling permits) as a response to terror attacks, closes with this bizarre paragraph, which seems to indicate that Lamborn is unaware of even the basic facts about occupation: “It should be remembered that there are no permits given to Israelis to freely move through the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority or within Gaza. Can you imagine an Israeli going to Gaza? It’s not done. Does anyone decry the human rights abuse suffered by Israelis because they cannot freely travel in these areas? What did Israelis do to be so limited in movement in Hebron, Bethlehem, Shechem (Nablus), and Ramallah? Did they carry out terrorist attacks? No, they are simply Jews.” [Seriously – you just can’t make this kind of stuff up.]

Thune (R-SD) 6/21: “To Stop ISIS-Inspired Attacks, We Need to Stop ISIS” (statement includes the assertion that: “The president’s nuclear deal with Iran has left that country better equipped to acquire advanced nuclear weapons down the road.”

Pompeo (R-KS) 6/21: Pompeo Demands Answers Regarding Uranium Found in Iran

Coats (R-IN) 6/21: Lengthy floor speech entitled, “Ending U.S. Aid for Palestinian Acts of Terrorism,” ending with the following: “I intend to work with my colleagues, particularly Senator Graham and Senator Kirk, who are on the relevant committees and had joined me years ago to try to put a stop to this. I want to work with them to end American financial support for incarcerated terrorists or the families of these so-called martyrs who have earned that status by the brutal slaying of Jewish citizens, including some Americans. We will identify the amount of money that flows from the PA to the PLO for this purpose and cut U.S. assistance by at least that amount. If that partial cutoff of U.S. aid is not sufficient to motivate the PA to end this immoral system of payments to terrorists, I propose a complete suspension of any financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority until their policy has changed.”

Cotton (R-AR) 6/20: Cotton Statement on the Detection of Uranium at Iran’s Parchin Military Complex

Cruz (R-TX) 6/20: Op-Ed in Conservative Review: ‘Bowing at the Altar of Political Correctness Won’t Defeat Terrorism. Here’s What Will.’ [excerpt: “The [Muslim] Brotherhood is committed to violent jihad as a means of achieving its ends. This is not only reflected in the fact that the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, is affiliated with the Brotherhood...”]

Pompeo (R-KS) 6/17: Pompeo Criticizes Treasury Department Official’s Remarks That U.S. Companies Can Receive Government Financing to Do Business in Iran

Hensarling (R-TX) and Roskam (R-IL) 6/17: Letter to Boeing: American Companies Should Not Be Complicit in Weaponizing the Iranian Regime (letter text is here)

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