The Middle East in the FY21 Consolidated Appropriations Bill
Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.
This week Congress moved to avert a government shut-down (barely) by passing the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which includes 11 FY21 must-pass appropriations bills (funding core government functions/agencies), the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2021, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief bill. In addition, the Consolidated bill includes fully 16 other (non-must-pass) bills — dealing with a seemingly ad hoc collection of legislative priorities including bio/agriculture, pipelines, the environment, intellectual property, homeland security, museums, aircraft, energy, water, health, and taxes. On 12/21, the House passed this massive bill in two roll call votes (coming in at 327–85 and 359-53), and the Senate then passed the bill by a recorded vote of 92-6. The bill now goes to President Trump.
All told the bill weighs in at 5593 pages, plus there are hundreds of pages of joint explanatory statements laying out Congressional intent with respect to each bill included in the Consolidated bill. All of which was released the same day Congress had to vote on it. Which means that the chances that any member of Congress actually read even a small portion of the text or explanatory language before being forced to vote on the entire package are virtually nil.
The full text of the FY21 Consolidated Appropriations Act is here (the text of the bill was inserted into an existing bill, HR 133, which was hollowed out for this purpose; confusingly, as of this writing, that bill still shows up in the Congressional Record under its original title and with its original content).
Middle East-related provisions – which are present in Division C (Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2021), Division K (Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act, 2021) and Division W (Intelligence Authorization Act, 2021) are detailed below. This analysis covers both bill language and language from the relevant Joint Explanatory Statement. Text of the Joint Explanatory Statement for SFOPS Approps is here; text of the Joint Explanatory Statement covering DOD Approps is here (and there is no statement for Intell Authorization).
1. Middle East Provisions in Division C (FY21 Dept. of Defense Approps Act)
COUNTER-ISIS TRAIN AND EQUIP FUND: The bill earmarks $710 million for the “Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund,” to be available until September 30, 2022, and lays out in detail how those funds may be used. The text notes that such funds “shall be available to provide assistance only for activities in a country designated by the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, as having a security mission to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and following written notification to the congressional defense committees of such designation.” It also requires vetting prior to granting of funds with respect to whether forces or individuals, including whether they have associations with terrorist groups or groups associated with the Government of Iran. [many more stipulations in the bill text].
Section 8117 – TURKEY. The bill states, “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available to deliver F–35 air vehicles or any other F–35 weapon system equipment to the Republic of Turkey, except in accordance with section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (Public Law 116–92).”
Section 8072 – ISRAEL. The bill earmarks $500 million for Israeli Cooperative Programs. The bill sub-earmarks those funds as follows: $70 million for Iron Dome; $177 million for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) program, of which $50 million is for co-production activities in the U.S. and in Israel; $77 million is for co- production activities of Arrow 3 Upper Tier systems in the United States and in Israel; and $173 million is for the Arrow System Improvement Program including development of a long range, ground and airborne, detection suite.
Section 9022 – IRAN. The bill stipulates that “Nothing in this Act may be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran.” The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes: “The agreement does not retain a new provision proposed by the House which repeals the 2002 AUMF” and “The agreement does not retain a new provision proposed by the House which prohibits funds for any use of military force in or Iran, with exceptions.”
Section 9011 – JORDAN. The bill earmarks “up to $500,000,000…to provide assistance to the Government of Jordan to support the armed forces of Jordan and to enhance security along its borders.”
Section 9026 – JORDAN, LEBANON, EGYPT, TUNISIA, OMAN. The bill earmarks $250 million of funds appropriated for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, to remain available until September 30, 2022, “to reimburse Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman under section 1226 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (22 U.S.C. 2151 note), for enhanced border security, of which not less than $150,000,000 shall be for Jordan.”
2. Middle East Provisions in Division K (FY21 State & Foreign Ops Approps Act)
TITLE I – DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY
INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING OPERATIONS – The bill makes available $793,257,000 “For necessary expenses to enable the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM)…to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio, Internet, and television broadcasting to the Middle East…” A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill earmarks $108,866,000 of this total for Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
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, 2021, 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 note), all interest and earnings accruing to the Israeli Arab Scholarship Fund on or before September 30, 2021, to remain available until expended.”
TITLE III – BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
COMPLEX CRISES FUND – The bill provides $30 million “For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of section 509(b) of the Global Fragility Act of 2019…to remain available until expended” The text stipulates that such funds may be made available “notwithstanding any other provision of law, except sections 7007, 7008, and 7018 of this Act and section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.” [As a reminder, 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.”]
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE (DA) – A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the report breaks down DA to the Middle East as follows:
- USAID Middle East Regional (refugee scholarships for Lebanon) – $8,000,000
- Sudan (under “Africa” heading) – $20,000,000
ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND (ESF) – The bill provides $3,151,963,000, in ESF, to remain available until September 30, 2022. A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the report breaks down ESF to the Middle East as follows:
- Lebanon — $112,500,000, of which $12,000,000 is for scholarships
- Middle East Partnership Initiative — $20,000,000
- Middle East Regional Cooperation — $5,000,000
- Near East Regional Democracy — $55,000,000
- Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act — $50,000,000
- West Bank and Gaza — $75,000,000
ESF for Israel – The Joint Explanatory Statement also notes: “USAID-Israel International Development Cooperation. The agreement includes $2,000,000 for the activities described under this heading in the House report.” [That House report stated: “The Committee is supportive of cooperative projects and the recommendation includes $2,000,000 to support local solutions to address sustainability challenges relating to water resources, agriculture, and energy storage.”]
MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE (MRA) – The bill earmarks $3,432,000,000 for this category, of which “$5,000,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.”
TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
NONPROLIFERATION, ANTI-TERRORISM, DEMINING AND RELATED PROGRAMS (NADR) – Includes perennial language stating: “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 earmarks $440,759,000 for PKO, of which not less than $25 million is earmarked for the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai. The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill states: “The agreement includes $25,000,000 for the United States share of the fiscal year 2021 operating budget for the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission in the Sinai. Sufficient funds remain available from prior fiscal year balances to address force protection requirements during fiscal year 2021. United States leadership and participation in the MFO is important to the national security interests of the United States.”
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING PROGRAM (FMF) – The bill earmarks $6,175,524,000 for FMF, of which “not less than $3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act: Provided further, 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 $795,300,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development.”
A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement lays out FMF earmarks for the Middle East as follows:
- Egypt — $1,300,000,000
- Iraq — $250,000,000
- Israel — $3,300,000,000
- Jordan — $425,000,000
- Morocco — $10,000,000
- Tunisia — $85,000,000
TITLE VI – EXPORT & INVESTMENT ASSISTANCE
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the final bill states with respect to “American Universities Abroad” that “The DFC [Development Finance Company] shall continue to engage American universities abroad, including the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo, and the American University of Afghanistan, on ways to mitigate the impact of regional economic crises.”
TITLE VII – GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 7004 – DIPLOMATIC FACILITIES. The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the final bill states: “The agreement endorses the directive concerning section 7004(h) reports included under this section in the House report. In addition, the Secretary of State shall include in such reports the New Embassy Compound in Jerusalem, Israel.”
Section 7007 – PROHIBITION AGAINST DIRECT FUNDING FOR CERTAIN COUNTRIES. Perennial bill text barring funds from Titles III-VI of the bill (defined to include support from the Export-Import Bank) to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, or Syria.
Section 7008 – COUPS D’ETAT. Perennial bill text barring funds from Titles III-VI of the bill “to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” The provision permits funding to be re-started if a democratically elected government has taken office. The ban also does not apply “to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes.” The Joint Explanatory Statement notes: “Restrictions applied pursuant to this section should allow programs to continue that are delivered through NGOs and provide essential services for the local population.”
Section 7013 – PROHIBITION ON TAXATION OF UNITED STATES ASSISTANCE. Perennial bill provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic, the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza.
Section 7015 – NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS. Part (f) of this provision 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, Sudan, Syria, Yemen.
Section 7021 – PROHIBITION ON ASSISTANCE TO GOVERNMENTS SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. Perennial bill provision prohibiting 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 that supports international terrorism, gives sanctuary to terrorist, or is controlled by a terrorist organization. The section includes national security waivers for both restrictions.
Section 7031 – FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET TRANSPARENCY. Includes perennial bill text barring entry to the U.S. of foreign officials and their immediate family members “about whom the Secretary of State has credible information have been involved, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, including corruption related to the extraction of natural resources, or a gross violation of human rights shall be ineligible for entry into the United States.” It also includes a waiver.
Section 7032 – DEMOCRACY PROGRAMS. Part (h) of this provision earmarks not less than $25,000,000 from ESF and Democracy Fund (DF) “to support and protect civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalists who have been threatened, harassed, or attacked…” Part (i) earmarks not less than $15 million in ESF “for programs that promote and defend freedom of expression and the independence of the media abroad.”
The Joint Explanatory statement notes: “The agreement includes funds at not less than the prior fiscal year level for programs to support independent media and Internet freedom, including in Afghanistan, Burma, the Philippines, Egypt, Ukraine, and countries in Central America and Africa.”
A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement lays out allocations for Democracy Programs (coming out of ESF), including in the Middle East:
- Near East Regional Democracy – $15,000,000
- Sudan – $1,000,000
- Syria – $11,000,000
- Yemen — $3,000,000
Section 7033 – INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Part (c) states that ESF funds appropriated by this Act and prior SFOPS laws “may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law for assistance for ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.”
Section 7034 – SPECIAL PROVISIONS.
- Part (o)(1) of this section states ESF and Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia “may be made available for the costs, as defined in section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, of loan guarantees for Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, and Ukraine, which are authorized to be provided.”
- Part (o)(2) states that “During fiscal year 2021, direct loans under 25 section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act may be made available for Jordan and Tunisia, notwithstanding section 23(c)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, gross obligations for the principal amounts of which shall not exceed $4,000,000,000.”
- Part (o)(3) states that FMF funding “may be made available, notwithstanding the third proviso under such heading, for the costs of loan guarantees under section 24 of the Arms Export Control Act for Jordan and Tunisia, which are authorized to be provided: Provided, That such funds are available to subsidize gross obligations for the principal amount of commercial loans, and total loan principal, any part of which is to be guaranteed, not to exceed $4,000,000,000.”
Section 7035 – LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SECURITY.
- Part (a)(2) provides NADR funding “for the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund for programs in areas liberated from, under the influence of, or adversely affected by, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or other terrorist organizations: Provided, That such areas shall include the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.”
- Part (b)(4) of this section of the bill is a perennial provision providing for financing of commercial leasing of defense articles to Israel, Egypt, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and major non-NATO allies.
- Part (c)(2) lays out limitations related to landmines and cluster munitions.
- Part (c)(4) 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 that the Secretary of State determines are
undemocratic or are undergoing democratic transitions.”
Section 7036 – ARAB LEAGUE BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL. Perennial bill text, in the form of a Sense of Congress opposing the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel.
Section 7037 – PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD. Perennial bill provision barring (with extensive language) assistance to a Palestinian state [if one were ever to come into being] that does not meet a series of conditions (includes perennial Presidential waiver authority and perennial exemption for assistance to help with PA reform).
Section 7038 – PROHIBITION ON ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION. Perennial language (dating back years) barring any U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
Section 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. This includes barring funds for the purpose of recognizing or honoring individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism. It also includes required reporting with respect to security assistance.
Section 7040 – LIMITATION ON ASSISTANCE FOR THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY. Perennial bill language that in Part (a) bans U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and in Part (b) grants the President authority to waive that ban if doing so is “important to the national security interest of the United States.” In addition, to use this waiver the President must certify to Congress (among other things) that the PA “the Palestinian Authority is acting to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and is supporting activities aimed at promoting peace, coexistence, and security cooperation with Israel.” NOTE: This is about $$ provided directly to the PA, as opposed to aid not directly for the PA but that “benefits” the PA (which is what the Taylor Force Act targets).
The section also includes a perennial subsection (f) entitled “Prohibition to Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization” (lumping together a US-designated FTO with the recognized representative of the Palestinian people that is NOT and has never been a US-designated FTO). 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 and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.” [Note: This formulation is designed to make it difficult for the U.S. engage any kind of Palestinian power-sharing government that results from a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, or 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].
It also 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” (and then must report to Congress in detail on the aid provided). It also stipulates that: “None of the funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act may be obligated for assistance for the Palestine Liberation Organization.”
As a reminder: 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.
Section 7041. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
(a) EGYPT. The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that the Committee allocates funding for Egypt as follows:
- Economic Support Fund — $125,000,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $3,000,000
- International Military Education and Training — $1,800,000
- Foreign Military Financing Program — $1,300,000,000
The Joint Explanatory Statement notes: “The agreement includes $1,431,800,000 for assistance for Egypt, including $2,000,000 under International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement. The agreement endorses the House report language on security of energy infrastructure (including the gas pipeline) and emphasizes support for democracy programs and development programs in the Sinai, particularly for Bedouin communities, consistent with prior year levels. The reporting requirement under the heading Certification under section 7031 in Senate Report 116-126 shall remain in effect during fiscal year 2021.”
Overall conditions on aid: This section of the bill stipulates that 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.”
ESF: The bill earmarks for Egypt not less than to $125 million in ESF – of which $40 million “should be made available for higher education programs,” including not less than $15 million for scholarships for needy students at not-for-profit, accredited schools in Egypt – provided that such funds “shall be made available for democracy programs, and for development programs in the Sinai” and provided that such funds “may not be 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.”
FMF: The bill earmarks $1.3 billion in FMF for Egypt (and stipulates that these funds may be transferred to the interest-bearing account – a benefit granted to Egypt years ago by Congress to try to create some symmetry with Israel’s early disbursal provision).
- The bill stipulates that $225 million of such funds “shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is taking sustained and effective steps” to achieve progress on a laundry list of issues (rule of law, democracy, human rights, reforms, freedoms, release of political prisoners, holding security forces accountable, investigate extrajudicial killings/disappearances, provide US access to monitor assistance). The text stipulates that the certification “shall not apply to funds appropriated by this Act under such heading for counterterrorism, border security, and nonproliferation programs for Egypt.” This section also includes authority for the Secretary of State to waive the certification upon certifying “to do so is important to the national security interest of the United States” and reporting why this is the case to Congress.
- In addition, the bill stipulates that $75 million in FMF “shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is making clear and consistent progress in releasing political prisoners and providing detainees with due process of law.
- In addition, the bill requires the Secretary of State to “encourage good faith negotiations between the
relevant parties regarding the September 13, 2015, attack against a tour group by the Egyptian military during
which American April Corley was injured.” It adds that “in lieu of the reporting requirement under section
7041(a)(4) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (division
G of Public Law 116–94), the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations on the status of
such negotiations not later than 60 days after enactment of this Act and every 90 days thereafter until September
This section of the bill states that funding in the bill (under Diplomatic Programs, ESF, and NADR) “shall be made available for the programs and activities described under this section in House Report 116–444.” Per that Report:“(1) the United States policy to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or otherwise obtain a nuclear weapon; (2) an expeditious response to any violation of UN Security Council Resolutions or to efforts that advance Iran’s nuclear program; (3) the implementation and enforcement of sanctions against Iran for its support of nuclear weapons development, terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile and weapons proliferation; and (4) democracy programs for Iran, to be administered by the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.”
In addition, this section of the bill requires the Secretary of State to submit two reports to Congress:
(A) the semi-annual report required by section 135 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4)), as added by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–17).
(B) Not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act, a report on “(i) the status of United States bilateral sanctions on Iran; (ii) the reimposition and renewed enforcement of secondary sanctions; and (iii) the impact such sanctions have had on Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East.”
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill stipulates that, “The Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall coordinate Iran counterinfluence programs funded by the Act. Such programs should: (1) counter the false assertions made by the Government of Iran against the United States and other democratic countries; (2) describe the support Iran provides to terrorist or extremist proxies; and (3) assess and describe the adverse impacts such support causes to the people of Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and other areas where Iran operates.” It also notes: “Not later than 180 days after enactment of the Act, the Secretary of State shall update the report required under this heading in Senate Report 116-126 in the manner described.”
A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement allocates funds to Iraq as follows:
- Economic Support Fund — $150,000,000
- of which, justice sector assistance — $2,500,000
- of which, Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund — $7,500,000
- of which, scholarships — $10,000,000
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement — $5,600,000
- Nonproliferation, Anti–terrorism, Demining and Related Programs — $47,510,000
- International Military Education and Training — $1,000,000
- Foreign Military Financing Program — $250,000,000
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that “The agreement includes $2,500,000 under International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, in addition to funds made available under Economic Support Fund, to support the Iraqi justice sector, including to combat corruption, strengthen adherence to international standards of due process, improve juvenile justice, protect the rights of prisoners, and support civil society engagement with the judiciary…” It also requires the Secretary of State to provide Congress – not later than 180 days after enactment of the Act – with “a comprehensive strategy, developed in coordination with the Government of Iraq (including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq) and Iraqi civil society, to stabilize and rebuild critical institutions and infrastructure and respond to the heightening tensions with Iran.”
This bill states that funds in the bill (amount not earmarked) “shall be made available for assistance for Iraq for— (A) bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; (B) stabilization assistance, including in Anbar Province; (C) justice sector strengthening; (D) humanitarian assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; and (E) programs to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations in Iraq, including as described under this section in House Report 116–444.” The bill also stipulates that any change in status of operations of the US Consulate General Basrah requires prior Congressional consultation, and that no funds in the bill may be used by the US to enter into a permanent basing rights agreement with Iraq.
The bill text earmarks “not less than $1,650,000,000” for assistance for Jordan. Of this total, not less than $845,100,000 is “for budget support for the Government of Jordan”; not less than $10 million is “for programs and activities for which policy justifications and decisions shall be the responsibility of the United States Chief of Mission in Jordan”; and not less than $425 million is FMF.
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill notes that “In addition to the amounts designated in the Act for Foreign Military Financing Program, the agreement includes not less than the following amounts for assistance for Jordan: $85,000,000 under Development Assistance; $1,122,400,000 under Economic Support Fund; $13,600,000 under Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs; and $4,000,000 under International Military Education and Training.” It also stipulates that the Department of State and USAID, in consultation with the Government of Jordan, “should prioritize funding made available by the Act to improve Jordan’s ability to deliver essential services in the education, energy, health, and water sectors.”
The bill text states that Bilateral Economic Assistance (Title III) and International Security Assistance funds (title IV) “shall be made available for assistance to Lebanon” (specific amount not earmarked in the bill). It notes that INCLE and FMF for Lebanon “may be made available for programs and equipment for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to address security and stability requirements in areas affected by conflict in Syria, following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees,” and adds that FMF for Lebanon may only be made available for programs to: “(i) professionalize the LAF to mitigate internal and external threats from non-state actors, including Hizballah; (ii) strengthen border security and combat terrorism, including training and equipping the LAF to secure the borders of Lebanon and address security and stability requirements in areas affected by conflict in Syria, interdicting arms shipments, and preventing the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups; and (iii) implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.” With respect to funding for the LAF, the Secretary of State must submit a detailed spend plan to Congress prior to obligating funds. Finally, the section states: “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for the ISF or the 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).”
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill states: “The agreement includes assistance for Lebanon at levels consistent with prior fiscal years. The Secretary of State shall submit the report required under this heading in the House report in the manner described. The Secretary of State and USAID Administrator shall increase humanitarian assistance, primarily through local NGOs, to help communities impacted by the port explosion on August 4, 2020. The agreement includes funds to support programs to facilitate the resolution of border disputes between Lebanon and Israel. Not later than 90 days after enactment of the Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations on steps taken during the prior year to resolve such disputes.”
The bill text states that funds “shall be made available for stabilization assistance for Libya, including support for a United Nations-facilitated political process and border security.” It adds that “the limitation on the uses of funds for certain infrastructure projects in section 7041(f)(2) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014 (division K of Public Law 113–76) shall apply to such funds.” It also requires that prior to the initial obligation of funds for Libya, “the Secretary of State shall certify and report to the Committees on Appropriations that all practicable steps have been taken to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of such funds.”
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill states: “The agreement includes not less than $30,000,000 under titles III and IV of the Act for stabilization assistance for Libya, including support for a United Nations-facilitated political process and border security.”
The bill text does not earmark funding for Morocco, but notes that “Funds appropriated under title III of this Act shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara.” With respect to FMF, the bill stipulates that funds from this Act “are available for assistance for Morocco may only be used for the purposes requested in the Congressional Budget Justification, Foreign Operations, Fiscal 20 Year 2017.”
A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill allocates funding to Morocco as follows:
- Development Assistance – $10,000,000
- ESF – $10,000,000
- INCL – $5,000,000
- NADR – $4,000,000
- IMET – $2,000,000
- FMF – $10,000,000
(h) SAUDI ARABIA.
The bill states that no IMET funding may be made available for Saudi Arabia; no US funding “should” (note the verb) “be obligated or expended by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to guarantee, insure, or extend (or participate in the extension of) credit in connection with the export of nuclear technology, equipment, fuel, materials, or other nuclear technology-related goods or services to Saudi Arabia unless the Government of Saudi Arabia— (A) has in effect a nuclear cooperation agreement pursuant to section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2153); (B) has committed to renounce uranium enrichment and reprocessing on its territory under that agreement; and (C) has signed and implemented an Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
The bill text earmarks not less than $40 million from ESF, INCLE, and PKO for Syria, notwithstanding any other provision of law, “for non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria, of which not less than $7,000,000 shall be made available for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations.” The bill stipulates that such funds may not be used for any project or activity that supports or legitimizes Iran or an Iranian proxy, that furthers the strategic objectives of Russia or undermine US national security interests, or that are in areas controlled by the al-Assad government or associated forces. The bill also lays out requirements for monitoring, oversight, consultation, and notification with respect to funding for Syria.
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill states: “The safety of Syrian refugees and the delivery of humanitarian and other foreign assistance in areas of Syria not under the Assad regime’s control remain major concerns. The agreement includes non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria, which shall also be made available in Deir ez-Zor.”
The bill text states: “Of the funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs.”
A table in the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill allocates funding to Tunisia as follows:
- DA – $45,000,000
- ESF – $40,000,000
- INCLE – $13,000,000
- NADR – 6,100,000
- IMET – $2,300,000
- FMF – $85,000,000
The Joint Explanatory Statement further stipulates that, “Subsection (j) makes an additional $50,000,000 available for assistance for Tunisia from prior year Economic Support Fund.”
(k) WEST BANK AND GAZA.
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill states: “The agreement includes $75,000,000 under International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement for security assistance programs for the West Bank and $75,000,000 under Economic Support Fund for the humanitarian and development needs of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza.”
The bill text includes no hard earmark for funding for the West Bank and Gaza, but includes instead another list of (perennial) limitations/restrictions/oversight requirements on funding for the West Bank and Gaza.
Subsection 1 of this section requires that, prior to obligating any ESF for the West Bank and Gaza, the Secretary of State must to 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.”
Subsection 2 of this section bars any ESF from being used for assistance to the PA if, after the enactment of the Act, the Palestinians have joined any new UN agencies or are have initiated or are supporting action against Israel at the ICC. There is a waiver for the UN agencies-related condition (for reasons of US interests), but there is no waiver for the ICC condition [given that there is ongoing action, backed by the Palestinians, at the ICC dealing with alleged Israeli crimes against Palestinians, this provision in effect bars aid to the PA, period]. Part 2 also includes authority for the President to waive the ban on the PLO mission operating in the US (which is found in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987), but that authority is also conditioned on the Palestinians not joining any new UN agencies and not initiating or supporting action against Israel at the ICC; if this cannot be certified, the President can temporarily waive the restriction, but only if he certifies, instead, that “the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel” [something over which the Palestinians have only very partial, limited control].
Subsection 3 of this section stipulates that ESF available for the West Bank and Gaza is subject to the Taylor Force Act.
Subsection 4 states: “The reporting requirements 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.” [As a reminder, 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.”]
Subsection 5 states: “Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel.”
The bill text does not earmark any specific funds for Yemen, noting merely that “Funds appropriated under title III and under the headings ‘‘International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement’’ and ‘‘Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs’’ of this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs shall be made available for health, humanitarian, and stabilization assistance for Yemen.”
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill states: “The agreement includes $37,000,000 under title III and under International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement and Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs for health, humanitarian, and stabilization assistance for Yemen.”
Section 7042: Africa (j) – SUDAN.
The bill earmarks not less than $60 million under Title III for assistance for Sudan “for agriculture and economic growth programs, and economic assistance for marginalized areas in Sudan and Abyei.” The bill states that none of the funds in the Act appropriated under Title IV, “may be made available for assistance for the Government of Sudan, except assistance to support implementation of outstanding issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, mutual arrangements related to post-referendum issues associated with such Agreement, or any other viable peace agreement in Sudan.”
Section 7046: EUROPE & EURASIA. Part (d) of this section bars funds to facilitate or support the sale of defense articles or defense services to the Turkish Presidential Protection Directorate (TPPD), unless the Secretary of State certifies that all TPPD members named in the 7/17/17 indictment by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and against whom there are pending charges have returned to the US to stand trial or have otherwise been brought to justice (a limitation that does not apply to funding border security purposes, NATO or coalition operations, or to enhance the protection of US officials and facilities in Turkey).
Sec. 7048: UNITED NATIONS. This section of the bill includes perennial provisions targeting the United Nations, including:
- No $$ for agencies headed by bad guys: Part (b) of this section prohibits funding expenses for expenses for any US delegation to anything having to do with, or contributions to any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN that is chaired or presided over by a country, the government of which the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, “supports international terrorism.” In addition, it bars US contributions to any organization, agency, commission, or program within the United Nations system if such organization, agency, commission, or program is chaired or presided over by a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined “has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” This section includes authority for the Secretary of state to waive this prohibition if it is important for the national interest of the United States.
- Pressure on UN Human Rights Council (over Israel): Part (c) of this section bars funding for the UNHRC “unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that participation in the Council is important to the national interest of the United States and that such Council is taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.” In making the certification, the Secretary of State “shall include a description of the national interest served and the steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.” In addition, this paragraph requires the Secretary of State to report to Congress “not later than September 30, 2021, 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 and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.”
- UNRWA: Part (d) of this section of the bill stipulates that prior to the initial obligation of funds for UNRWA, the Secretary of State shall report to Congress, in writing, on whether UNRWA is meeting a long list of benchmarks (benchmarks that have been basically consistent for a number of years and that UNRWA has satisfied).
- Pressure on UNESCO & Other UN Agencies (over Israel): Part (f) requires reporting to Congress on any U.S. contributions to international organizations that are withheld due to any provision of law [for example, U.S. funding to UNESCO, barred because UNESCO admitted the Palestinians as full members].
The Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying the bill includes the following stipulations relevant to UNRWA and the UN:
- U.S. AID as Leverage in the UN: The Joint Explanatory Statement states: “In considering bilateral assistance for a foreign government, the Secretary of State shall review, among other factors, the voting practices of such government at the UN in relation to United States strategic interests.”
- Report on Anti-Israel Bias: The Joint Explanatory Statement notes: “The Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations in the manner described under Contributions to International Organizations in the House report.” That House Report stated: “The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations describing instances of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, including identification of the agencies and entities where such bias has been demonstrated in the past. Such report may ac-company the annual report submitted pursuant to section 4(a) of Public Law 79–264 on United States participation in the United Nations.”
- Brief to Congress on UNRWA: The Joint Explanatory Statement notes: “Not later than 90 days after enactment of the Act, the Secretary of State shall brief the Committees on Appropriations on the UN Relief and Works Agency’s adherence to the UN principles of neutrality, human rights, tolerance, equality, and non-discrimination with regard to race, gender, language, and religion. In complying with the report directive under section 7048 of House Report 116-78, the Secretary may reduce the period of comparison to fiscal years 2015 through 2020.”
Section 7050 – GLOBAL INTERNET FREEDOM. This section of the bill provides not less than $70 million from various funding categories to promote Internet freedom globally, including for programs to implement “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. 24 8754).”
Sec. 7060 – SECTOR ALLOCATIONS. Part (g) of this section earmarks not less than $25 million in DA “to support people-to-people reconciliation programs which bring together individuals of different ethnic, 5religious, and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war.”
TITLE VIII – NITA M. LOWEY MIDDLE EAST PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE ACT of 2020
This Title is the full Partnership for Peace Act (which has been pending in different forms in the past four years). The Act establishes two programs – one civil society funding arm through USAID and one economic development arm through the DFC – for the purposes of “building a viable Palestinian economy is central to the effort to preserve the possibility of a negotiated settlement leading to a sustainable two-state solution with the democratic, Jewish state of Israel and a demilitarized, democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition.” This Title authorizes the program’s establishment (for a period of 10 years), laying out the terms on which the program shall operate (including governance, eligibility & vetting requirements, rules regarding contributions, USAID’s role, reporting/oversight requirements, Congress’s role) and authorizing $50 million annually for the fund for the next 5 fiscal years.
TITLE IX – EMERGENCY FUNDING AND OTHER MATTERS , DEPARTMENT OF STATE
SUDAN: This section earmarks $150 million, to remain available until expended, for “necessary expenses to carry out section 7 of the Sudan Claims Resolution Act, notwithstanding any other provision of law.” It also earmarks an addition $700 million in ESF, to remain available until September 30, 2022, “for assistance for Sudan, and which may be made available as contributions.” The text notes that up to $100 million of those funds may be transferred to, and merged with, funds available under “Global Health Programs” and “Transition Initiatives,” and stipulates that “funds appropriated under this heading in this title may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law for contributions authorized under this heading, agriculture and economic growth programs, and economic assistance for marginalized areas in Sudan and Abyei.” This Title of the bill also provides $120 million which may be used, notwithstanding any other provision of law, “for payment by the Secretary of the Treasury to the International Monetary Fund for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries debt relief for Sudan.”
3. Middle East Provisions in Division W (FY21 Intelligence Authorization Act)
The bill requires a report on the effect :of lifting of United Nations arms embargo on Islamic Republic of Iran (Sec. 609) and on “Iranian activities relating to nuclear nonproliferation” (Sec. 610).