(This is Part 2 of an unprecedented two-part Round-Up. Please see Part 1for bills/resolutions/letters and coverage of HR 850, the Jerusalem passport case, CUFI on the Hill, Middle East issues in the Defense Approps process, Members on the Record, and Hearings/briefings).
FY14 ForOps Process Gets Underway
2. More On House FY14 ForOps (Report Language)
1. Senate FY14 ForOps Process Gets Underway
As noted in Part 1 of this week's Round-Up, on 7/23 the Senate ForOps Subcommittee marked up the draft FY14 ForOps Approps bill (webcasthere). On 7/25, the full committee marked up the bill (webcast here) and reported it out of committee as S.1372, with a written report, No. 113-81. The full committee press release on the approval of the bill is availablehere. POMED's summary of the bill and the accompanying report is available here. Below are full details of the Middle East provisions in the bill.
TITLE I -- DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY
Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs
Report language: "...The Committee also urges the Secretary to continue to give priority to critical language programs, programs providing overseas training in critical languages for American students, and exchange programs from countries with high national security importance, including those with significant Muslim populations. ...The Committee supports a new virtual educational exchange initiative between the United States and Middle East, and intends that funds be matched by sources other than the U.S. Government, including from private foundations, foreign governments, and the private sector. Such an initiative can broaden understanding and engagement between U.S. and Middle Eastern and North African youth in a cost-effective manner. The Committee provides authority for academic fellowships, scholarships, and exchanges for foreign academic professionals and foreign university students from countries in the Near East region, subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committee."
Broadcasting Board of Governors, international broadcasting operations
Bill language: $717,082,000, "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."
Report Language: "New Program Initiatives- The Committee recommends funding to launch new programming to counter extremism in Africa, engage new audiences in the Middle East and Burma, and to improve shortwave service to key audiences around the world."
Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund (Bill language): "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, 2014, to remain available until expended."
Israeli Arab Scholarship Program (Bill language): "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, 2015, to remain available until expended."
TITLE III -- BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUNDS - ESF
BAHRAIN: No mention in the bill. The report notes that, "The Committee recommends not less than $3,000,000 to support democracy and governance activities in Bahrain."
EGYPT: The bill stipulates that "up to $250,000,000 should be made available for assistance for Egypt." [Note: in the previous year, this was a "shall" clause, not a "should" clause").
JORDAN: The bill stipulates that "not less than $360,000,000 shall be available for assistance for Jordan."
LEBANON: No mention in the bill. The report recommends that, "$12,000,000 be made available for scholarships for students in Lebanon with high financial need to attend not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet standards comparable to those required for American accreditation. The institutions, students and their families are encouraged to pay as much of the cost of the education as possible in order to share the commitment to the future of Lebanon and to maximize the number of students who are assisted. All students should be eligible for scholarships based on need, academic record, and potential to contribute to the long-term political, economic, and social development of Lebanon."
LIBYA: No mention in the bill. The report states that, "The Committee directs the Secretary of State to report to the Committee that the central Government of Libya is cooperating with U.S. efforts to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the attack on U.S. facilities and personnel in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, prior to the obligations of funds for assistance for such government."
WEST BANK: No mention in the bill. The report states that, "The Committee recommends the President's budget request for assistance for the West Bank in this act. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committee prior to the initial obligation of funds detailing and assessing the capabilities of key Palestinian Authority and security services officials to manage and conduct effective oversight of U.S. assistance."
TUNISIA: No mention in the bill. The report states that, "The Committee recommends the President's budget request for assistance for Tunisia in this act."
YEMEN: No mention in the bill. The report states that, "The Committee recommends the President's budget request for assistance for Yemen in this act."
MEPI, OMEP & MERC: No mention in the bill. The report states that "The Committee recommends the President's budget request for MEPI and for OMEP under this heading, and the fiscal year 2012 level for MERC."
GLOBAL PROGRAMS: No mention in the bill. The report notes that "The Committee recommends funding for the `New Generation in the Middle East' initiative to build understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect among the next generation of Israeli and Palestinian leaders."
RECONCILIATION PROGRAMS: No mention in the bill. In the report the Committee "recommends a total of $26,000,000 for reconciliation programs and activities which bring together and facilitate direct communication between individuals of different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds in countries affected by civil strife and war, of which $10,000,000 is for such programs and activities in the Middle East and North Africa region. Of this amount, $16,000,000 is provided under this heading and $10,000,000 is provided under the DA heading. Funds should be leveraged to secure contributions from other international donors, to the maximum extent practicable. The Committee also recommends funding for the `New Generation in the Middle East' initiative to build understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect among young Israelis and Palestinians of diverse economic and social backgrounds who have leadership potential. Such programs and activities are to be conducted in the region."
MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA INCENTIVE FUND: No mention in the bill. The Committee report notes that, "The Committee does not recommend funding for Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund. Instead, the Committee recommends funding under the Complex Foreign Crises Fund to respond to political transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, among other purposes."
MIGRATION AND REFUGEE ASSISTANCE (MRA)
"$15,000,000 of the funds appropriated under this heading in this Act or prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel."
Iraq: "The Committee expects the administration to make every effort to expedite refugee resettlement of the most vulnerable Iraqis and maximize the use of Special Immigrant Visa processing while maintaining an effective screening process. The Committee is also concerned that many Iraqis remain displaced and in need of assistance."
Israel: "The Committee recommends $15,000,000 from this act and prior acts for refugee resettlement in Israel, to be awarded through a competitive process."
Protracted Refugee Situations and Report: "The Committee recognizes that growing refugee populations, including Burmese, Somalis, Sudanese, Afghans, Bhutanese, Palestinians, and others have been unable to return home for generations, and continue to require international assistance. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to fulfill the reporting requirement relating to UNRWA under the `Protracted Refugee Situations' subheading in Senate Report 112-172.
Syria: "The Committee urges the Department of State and USAID to continue working with humanitarian organizations, other donor nations, the United Nations, and Syria's neighbors to keep borders open to Syrians fleeing violence, provide access to basic services, and ensure their freedom of movement. The Committee supports sufficient funding to address the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey, particularly of the most vulnerable people, including persons with disabilities. Assistance should be identified as originating from the American people whenever possible, unless such identification jeopardizes the safety of implementers or recipients of such assistance."
COMPLEX FOREIGN CRISES FUND
Bill language: The bill earmarks $40,000,000, "For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to address complex foreign challenges and crises, including to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen complex crises, support political transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, and address instability caused by conflict in Syria". The bill stipulates that such funds "may be made to finance enterprise funds for Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan" and that they "may be made available for the costs, as defined in section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, of loan guarantees for Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan, which are authorized to be provided."
Report language: "The Committee recommends $40,000,000 for Complex Foreign Crises Fund. An additional $535,000,000 in title VIII under this heading is designated for OCO. This account is a modification of the previously existing Complex Crises Fund, and incorporates certain authorities contained in the President's budget request under the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund proposal, including for loan guarantees and enterprise funds for Jordan, Tunisia, and Egypt. The CFCF provides the Secretary of State with the necessary flexibility to respond to complex foreign crises and political transitions in the Middle East and North Africa."
TITLE IV - INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related programs (NADR)
Bill language: "...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..."
Report Language: "The Committee directs the Secretary of State to consult with the Committee prior to obligating funds for programs in Syria."
Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)
Bill language: "...of the funds appropriated under this
heading, not less than $36,000,000 shall be made available for a United States contribution to the
Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai, of which of up to $8,000,000 may be made available to
address force protection requirements."
Report language: "The Committee recommends $36,000,000 for the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai, including $8,000,000 to address force protection enhancements."
International Military Education and Training (IMET)
Bill language: None.
Report language: "Saudi Arabia.--The Committee is concerned with the continued detention of blogger and journalist Hamza Kashgari, who was arrested in February 2012 and remains in detention. "
FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING (FMF)
Israel: The bill stipulates that "not less than $3,100,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel" and stipulated that "...funds appropriated under this heading for assistance for Israel shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act" and "...to the extent that the Government of Israel requests that funds be used for such purposes, grants made available for Israel under this heading shall, as agreed by the United States and Israel, be available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $815,300,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development."
Egypt: The bill stipulates that "...up to $1,300,000,000 should be available for grants only for Egypt." [Note: in prior year appropriations this was a "shall" clause, not a "should" clause]. It also states that, as in prior years, "funds appropriated under this heading estimated to be outlayed for Egypt during fiscal year 2014 may be transferred to an interest bearing account for Egypt in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York."
Jordan: The bill stipulates that "not less than $300,000,000 shall be made available for assistance for Jordan."
Bahrain: Not mentioned in the bill. The report includes the following: "The Committee notes the importance of Bahrain to the security interests of the United States and allies in the region. However, the Committee is concerned that actions by the Government of Bahrain to limit freedom of expression, association and assembly, and reports of excessive force, unfair trials, and mistreatment of prisoners could have negative consequences for U.S. interests in Bahrain. The Committee is also concerned with acts of violence against the government by some protestors. The Committee notes that some of the most important reforms recommended by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry have not been implemented. The Committee intends that no crowd control items shall be provided to Bahrain during fiscal year 2014, and notes that none are included in the President's budget request. The Committee directs that the report required by section 7010 of this act shall include a description of any such items provided to foreign security forces."
Morocco: Not mentioned in the bill. The report states that, "The Committee notes that Morocco is a strategic ally in North Africa where the United States has an interest in preventing terrorism and promoting democracy. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to update the report required by section 7041(g) of division I of Public Law 112-74, including on steps taken during the previous 12 months by the Government of Morocco to release political prisoners and support a human rights monitoring and reporting role for the U.N. Mission in Western Sahara in cooperation with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights."
Crowd Control Items: Not mentioned in the bill, but under the FMF section of the report, the Committee notes that it is "concerned with reports that foreign security forces have used U.S.-manufactured crowd control items, such as tear gas, small arms, light weapons, and ammunition to repress peaceful expression in countries undergoing democratic transition. Section 7034(i) of this act addresses this matter. The Committee notes that section 620M of the FAA prohibits such assistance to any unit of a foreign security force that has committed a gross violation of human rights."
International Organizations and Programs
The report states: "The Committee notes that no funds are provided under this heading for a U.S. contribution to UNESCO, which is prohibited by law. "
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'etat
This is the language that is causing Congress and the Obama Administration a headache when it comes to funding for Egypt. This perennial provision explicitly bars U.S. funding 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 the enactment of this Act, a coup d'etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role." The section includes the perennial language permitting the assistance to be resumed "if the President determines...that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office." It also includes perennial language stipulating that the provisions of this section "shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes."
Sec. 7013: Prohibition on taxation of assistance
This is a perennial provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic, the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza. This reflects the genesis of the provision - the allegation in a previous year that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was taxing U.S. assistance provided to NGOs (and recall that under existing law direct aid to the PA is prohibited), thereby indirectly benefiting from US assistance designed specifically to bypass the PA.
Sec. 7015: Notification Requirements
Part (f) of this section states that no funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act (pretty much all funds in the bill) may be obligated or expended for assistance to a laundry list of countries, "except as provided through regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations." From the Middle East the list includes (this year): Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, 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 a national security waivers for both restrictions.
Sec. 7032: Democracy Programs
Part (e) of this section stipulates that "funds appropriated by this Act that are made available for democracy programs shall be made available to support freedom of religion, including in the Middle East and North Africa."
Sec. 7034: Special Provisions
Part (n) of this section, entitled "Limitations," bars all ESF assistance to the Palestinian Authority 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 or support an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court. The section permits the Secretary of State to waive the restriction if he/she certifies 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." In addition, this section would require the ejection of the PLO office from the U.S. 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. The section offers the president limited waiver authority to permit the PLO back in to the U.S. "if the President certifies in writing to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Committees on Appropriations that the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel."
Sec. 7035: Arab league boycott of Israel
Perennial Sense of Congress opposing the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel,
Sec. 7036: Palestinian statehood
Perennial provision barring assistance to a Palestinian state that does not meet a series of conditions (includes Presidential waiver authority).
Sec. 7037: Restrictions concerning the Palestinian authority
Perennial bill language barring U.S. funds for establishing any diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Sec. 7038: Prohibition on assistance to the Palestinian broadcasting corporation
Perennial bill language barring any U.S. assistance to the PBC.
Sec. 7039: Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
Perennial section laying out far-reaching restrictions and conditions, as well as vetting, oversight and audit requirements, for U.S. programs 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. Also bars any finding for salaries of PA personnel in Gaza or for Hamas or any entity "effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence." The latter bar 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 details about what these legal references mean, see the analysis of the House ForOps bill in the 7/19/13 edition of the Round-Up). This section also bars any assistance to the PLO.
Sec. 7041: Near East (Bill language)
(a) Egypt: This section includes brand-new language laying out an unprecedented and complex formula for continuing but significantly restricting and conditioning U.S. assistance to Egypt, as follows:
(1) Funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for the Government of Egypt may only be
obligated in the following manner--
(A) 25 percent of such funds may be made available after enactment of this Act;
(B) 25 percent of such funds may be made available if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Egypt is supporting inclusive political processes and institutions, including permitting pro-democracy and other civil society organizations to operate freely, has released political prisoners, and is not prosecuting political cases in military courts;
(C) 25 percent of such funds may be made available if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that credible elections have been conducted in Egypt and a democratically elected government is in place; and
(D) 25 percent of such funds may be made available if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the newly elected Government of Egypt is taking steps to govern democratically and protect human rights and the rule of law (including the rights of women and religious minorities).
(2) None of the funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for the Government of Egypt may be made available if such government is not abiding by the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
(3) The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees, concurrent with the fiscal year 2015 budget request, a comprehensive and strategic review of military and economic assistance for Egypt: Provided, That in conducting such review, the President shall consult with relevant Government of Egypt officials and representatives of civil society, and the appropriate congressional committees: Provided further, That such review shall include a detailed description of the purposes of such assistance, and the specific goals and objectives of furthering political, military, and economic reforms in Egypt, including:
(A) supporting democratic institutions (including an independent legislature and judiciary), an inclusive political process, and regular conduct of free and fair elections at all levels of government;
(B) promoting the rule of law (including equal access to justice, protection of the rights of women and religious minorities, and anti-corruption efforts);
(C) supporting economic reforms (including transparent and accountable governance, private sector-led growth and job creation, and trade expansion);
(D) fostering a vibrant civil society (including free and independent media);
(E) supporting security sector reform (including civilian police forces); and
(F) combating terrorism (including eliminating smuggling networks between Egypt and Gaza in the Sinai).
(4) Notwithstanding any provision of this Act, the Secretary of State shall reduce the amount of assistance for Egypt under the heading `Economic Support Fund' by an amount the Secretary determines is 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.
(5) (A) The Secretary of State may waive the requirements of paragraph (1)(B) not earlier than 3 months after enactment of this Act if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that to do so is important to the national security interests of the United States.
(B) The Secretary of State may waive the requirements of paragraph (1)(C) not earlier than 6 months after enactment of this Act if the Secretary certifies to such committees that to do so is important to the national security interests of the United States.
(b) Iran: This section states that funding shall be available "for the promotion of democracy and human rights in Iran, including for the activities described in section 1243 of Public Law 112-239." It requires that before obligating funds for such purposes, the Secretary of State must consult with Congress "on the policy and strategy of the United States to promote democracy and human rights in Iran, including any contingency plans arising from a broadening of conflict in the Near East region and a change in Iran's domestic political situation."
(c) Iraq: This section lays out details of funding for Iraq.
(d) Lebanon: This section states that FMF for Lebanon "may be made available only to professionalize the Lebanese Armed Forces (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 states that funding may not obligated for such assistance "until the Secretary of State submits a detailed spend plan, including actions to be taken to ensure that equipment provided to the LAF is used only for the intended purposes" (but notes that such plan does not meet the separate notification requirements elsewhere in the bill and under existing law). This section also clarified that ESF for Lebanon "may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law, except for the provisions of this Act and section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended by this Act."
(e) Libya: This section stipulates that "None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for assistance for Libya for infrastructure projects, except on a loan basis with terms favorable to the United States, and only following consultation with the Committees on Appropriations."
(f) Syria: This section states that "Funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act may be made available for assistance for Syria, notwithstanding any other provision of law." It stipulates that programs funded with such assistance should, among other things, seek to "(A) establish governance in Syria that is representative, inclusive, and accountable; (B) develop and implement political processes that are democratic, transparent, and adhere to the rule of law; (C) further the legitimacy of the Syrian opposition through cross-border programs; (D) develop civil society and an independent media in Syria; (E) promote economic development in Syria; (F) document, investigate, and prosecute human rights violations in Syria, including through transitional justice programs and support for nongovernmental organizations; and (G) counter extremist ideologies." All such funds 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, a comprehensive strategy to the appropriate congressional committees, which shall include a clear mission statement, achievable objectives and timelines, and a description of inter-agency and donor coordination and implementation of such strategy." This strategy must also "include a description of oversight mechanism and vetting procedures to prevent the misuse of funds." In addition, any funds for Syria may be made available only after consultation with Congress and subject to regular notification procedures.
Near East - Report Language
EGYPT: "The Committee notes that due to events on July 3, 2013, a democratically elected government is no longer in place in Egypt. As Egypt's political transition continues to evolve, the Committee recommends assistance for Egypt only if the Secretary of State certifies that conditions specified in section 7041(a) are met. Waiver authority is included for a portion of such assistance."
IRAN: In this section, the Committee "condemns actions by the Government of Iran which contribute to instability in the Near East region, particularly in Lebanon and Syria. The Committee remains concerned with the danger Iran's pursuit of nuclear capabilities poses to the United States and regional allies." It notes that the current Act "continues the terms and conditions of section 7041(c) of Public Law 112-74 (in support of Iran sanctions and banning EX-IM financing to anyone subject to Iran-related sanctions)." The Committee notes that funds in the bill "shall be made available to promote democracy and human rights in, and for broadcasting to, Iran" and that "the Committee expects that not less than $30,000,000 shall be made available for such purposes under the ESF heading." It states that "the Secretary of State is required to consult with the appropriate congressional committees on the policy and strategy of the United States to promote democracy and human rights in Iran prior to the initial obligation of funds made available for such purposes by this act, including implementation of the Internet freedom strategy required by section 414 of Public Law 112-158."
In the report, the Committee also directs the Secretary of State "to submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing the activities of the Department of State, USAID, and BBG to promote democracy and human rights in Iran over the past 2 fiscal years, including program descriptions, financial data, and assessments of program effectiveness in meeting stated goals and objectives." The Committee directs the BBG to consult with Congress "regarding the audience share of U.S. broadcasting to Iran as compared to other international broadcasters, and whether U.S. policies toward Iran are presented clearly and effectively in such broadcasts, and in a balanced manner."
In addition, the Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report "describing steps taken by the Department of State to secure the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is jailed in Tehran. The report shall include an assessment of Pastor Abedini's health and welfare, and treatment by Iranian jailers." The Committee also notes with concern "the plight of political prisoners in Iran, including Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist imprisoned in Iran."
Finally, the Committee directs the Secretary of State "to submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees not later than 180 days after enactment of this act detailing the steps taken by the Secretary and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to implement section 415 of Public Law 112-158" (relating to political prisoners in Iran).
Sec. 7048: United Nations
Part (a) of this section deals with Transparency and Accountability at the UN.
Part (b) states prohibits funding for a contribution to any body 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) 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.
Part (d) requires a report from the Secretary of State, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, "detailing the amount of funds available for obligation or expenditure in fiscal year 2014 under the headings `Contributions to International Organizations' and `International Organizations and Programs' that are withheld from obligation or expenditure due to any provision of law." This section requires that this report be updated whenever additional funds are withheld and states that reprogramming of these withheld funds shall be subject to prior consultation with Congress.
Sec. 7054: Landmines and Cluster Munitions
This section states that demining equipment used in support of the clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance for humanitarian purposes "may be disposed of on a grant basis to foreign countries..." This section also lays out limitations on the provision of military assistance for cluster munitions, the issuance of defense export license for cluster munitions, and the sale or transfer of cluster munitions or cluster munitions technology.
Sec. 7060: Sector Allocations
Part (a) of this section states that under the ESF category in this bill, "not less than $35,000,000 should be made available for higher education programs including not less than $10,000,000 for scholarships at not-for-profit institutions for Egyptian students with high financial need."
Part (f) states that under the ESF and Development Assistance (DA) headings, "$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, of which $10,000,000 shall be made available for such programs in the Middle East..."
Sec. 7067: Commercial Leasing of Defense Articles
This section provides for financing "to Israel, Egypt and 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: Operating and Spend Plans
This section requires that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of USAID, submit to Congress "a detailed spend plan" for funding for assistance to a list of countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, the West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.
2. More on FY14 House ForOps (Report Language)
On 7/30, the House FY14 ForOps bill was reported out of committee (and officially introduced and given a bill number- HR 2855), accompanied by the committee's report, H. Rept. 113-185. For detailed analysis of the bill's Middle East-related provisions, see last week's edition of the Round-Up(no Middle East-related amendments were made during the mark-up).
The Committee report does highlight some of the Committee's priorities and notes where the bill differs from the previous year's legislation with respect to the Middle East, as summarized below:
"The Committee continues to provide unwavering support for Israel's security, reflected by full funding for the United States-Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at $3,100,000,000. The Committee recommendation also supports Jordan by providing the MOU funding level of $660,000,000 and by making additional funds available in title VIII of the Act for OCO/GWOT to help Jordan address the extraordinary strain it faces from unrest in the region."
Diplomatic and Consular Programs
"Special envoys- The Committee urges the Secretary of State to review the number of special envoys at the Department of State with a view towards the elimination of envoys that are no longer needed and are duplicative of the work of the regional and functional bureaus. In addition, the Committee urges the Secretary of State as part of the review to, if authorized, appoint a special envoy to promote religious freedom of minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia, with a priority focus on Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."
UN Human Rights Council: "The Committee is deeply concerned about the credibility and effectiveness of the UNHRC, especially because of its disproportionate focus on Israel. The Committee also notes with disappointment the ascension to the UNHRC of countries with poor human rights records. The Committee recommendation includes modified language in title VII prohibiting funds to the UNHRC unless certain conditions are met."
Economic Support Funds (ESF)
"The Committee recommendation includes not less than $360,000,000 for assistance for Jordan and supports continued funding for strategic priorities in the Middle East, including for Morocco, the Near East Regional Democracy program, and the Middle East Regional Cooperation program, at levels consistent with prior years."
"The Committee recommendation includes language in section 7042 of this Act prohibiting funds for the Government of Egypt under titles III and IV of this Act unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that Egypt is upholding the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and describing other requirements that must be met prior to the obligation of funds for Egypt. The Committee supports funds under this heading and under Democracy Fund for programs that support rule of law, human rights, good governance, and political competition. The Committee believes that continued support for democracy activists and political parties in Egypt is important and encourages the Department of State and USAID to work with experienced implementers. The Committee encourages support for nongovernmental organizations, including those that involve the participation of women, religious minorities, and youth. The Committee remains concerned about the protection of religious minorities, including Coptic Christians.
"The Committee notes the chronic underlying conditions in Yemen that make the population vulnerable to ongoing health and development challenges and urges USAID to develop a resilience strategy for Yemen to address such problems."
Reconciliation Programs: "The Committee expects the Department of State and USAID to ensure that funds provided for reconciliation programs in the Middle East include a rigorous vetting and evaluation process and are consistent with United States foreign policy objectives in the region. The Committee notes that an initiative to build understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect among the next generation of Israeli and Palestinian leaders was included in the joint explanatory statement accompanying the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74) and expects USAID to consult with the Committees on Appropriations on these programs."
Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA)
Resettlement in Israel: "The Committee recommendation includes a directive that not less than $15,000,000 of the amounts appropriated under this heading in this Act, or prior Acts, for refugees from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and other refugees resettling in Israel, the same as the request and similar to language carried in prior years."
Syrian refugees: "The Committee understands that a majority of Syrian refugees live outside of formal camps, which adds considerably to the strain on the resources of countries hosting them. The Committee recognizes the urgent need to assist in the following ways: (1) help host countries expand their national systems to accommodate refugee needs, such as in the health and education sector, (2) ensure that host countries can continue to deliver basic services to their own citizens, (3) strengthen the capacity of local authorities to respond to the refugee influx, and (4) maintain refugees' freedom of movement, right to settle in local communities, and access to economic opportunities. The Committee encourages the Department of State and USAID to, where appropriate, assist its partners and the affected host governments in the humanitarian response to the growing number of Syrians who have sought refuge in nearby countries and requested assistance."
UNRWA: The report reiterates the conditions laid out in the bill on URNWA funding, and notes, "The Committee urges the Department of State to continue its work with UNRWA and host governments to ensure that educational materials used in UNRWA schools are free of inflammatory and inaccurate information. The Committee is concerned about reports of the glorification of terrorists and anti-Semitic doctrine in host country textbooks. The Committee directs the Department of State to report to the Committees on Appropriations on the steps taken by UNRWA to mitigate the use and influence of any such deleterious material and provide recommendations for improving transparency and accuracy of host country textbooks."
Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR)
"Middle East Nuclear Free Zone- The Committee notes with great concern Iran's continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability and views such efforts as a serious threat to the region. The Committee understands that preparatory steps are underway for a regional conference to discuss a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction and systems for their delivery, as referenced in the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference final document. The Committee expects the Administration to continue to insist on its publicly stated policies for the establishment of such a conference."
Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)
"Near East- The Committee recommendation includes up to $34,000,000 for the Multinational Force and Observers Mission in the Sinai. The Committee notes the increasingly challenging security environment in the Sinai and supports providing additional resources to address force protection enhancements during fiscal year 2014."
Sec. 7039: Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
This section has been modified "by adding subsection (h) requiring the Secretary of State to certify that economic assistance is for certain purposes, prior to the obligation of funds." The report notes that "with respect to the notification requirement in subsection 7039(f) of this Act for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza, the Committee "directs that any such notification that includes budget support must include each specific purpose and the corresponding amount planned. The Committee further notes that funds in this Act are not provided to pay for the stipends of Palestinian prisoners or the families of Palestinian prisoners."
Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
Israel: "The Committee recommendation provides $3,100,000,000 in grants for military assistance to Israel, which is the same as the request. The Committee notes that of the funds provided for assistance for Israel, not less than $815,300,000 is available for offshore procurement of military equipment. The Committee continues prior year language that funds shall be made available within 30 days of enactment of this Act. The Committee notes that the funding provided supports the $30,000,000,000 ten-year MOU signed on August 16, 2007, between the Department of State and Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which established the framework for United States military assistance to Israel and calls for $3,100,000,000 in fiscal year 2014. The continued funding of the MOU reflects the unshakable commitment of the Congress to Israel's security and helps Israel maintain its technological edge in light of the increased threats it faces in the region. The Committee recognizes that the United States-Israel partnership is integral to United States national security interests and supports this framework agreement as a continuation of a valuable strategic relationship."
Jordan: "The Committee recommendation includes not less than $300,000,000 for assistance for Jordan. The Committee notes that the Kingdom of Jordan continues to play a critical role in advancing peace and stability in the region."
Lebanon: "The Committee recommendation includes language in section 7042 of this Act requiring that certain conditions be met prior to the obligation of funds for Lebanon. The Committee notes that in addition to placing conditions on assistance, language in section 7042 requires: (1) a detailed spend plan, (2) notifications to include specific reference to lethal military equipment; and (3) a report on actions taken to ensure that equipment provided to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) is used only for intended purposes. The Committee intends that assistance provided to the LAF will not be used against Israel, and such assistance will not affect Israel's qualitative military edge in the region. The Committee further directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, in classified form if necessary, on the performance of the LAF, including an assessment of the operational capabilities of such forces and how the training, curriculum, and equipment provided by the United States contributes to those capabilities."
Title IV - General Provision
Section 7040: Limitation on Assistance to the Palestinian Authority
The report notes that this section "has been modified in subsections (e) and (f)(1)." Subsection 3 in the prior year bill, HR 5857, read: "Certification- If the President exercises the waiver authority under subsection (b), the Secretary of State must certify and report to the Committees on Appropriations prior to the obligation of funds that the Palestinian Authority has established a single treasury account for all Palestinian Authority financing and all financing mechanisms flow through this account, no parallel financing mechanisms exist outside of the Palestinian Authority treasury account, and there is a single comprehensive civil service roster and payroll." This year's bill adds an additional requirement at the end of that paragraph, requiring the Secretary to also certify that "the Palestinian Authority is moving to halt anti-Israel incitement and is engaged in activities aimed at promoting peace, coexistence, and security cooperation with Israel."
The report also notes that "in addition to the requirements included in subsection 7040(e) with respect to oversight of assistance to the Palestinian Authority, additional requirements on fiscal transparency for direct government-to-government assistance are included in subsection 7031(a). The Committee expects that any assistance provided to the Palestinian Authority will continue to strengthen the capacity of institutions to operate in an accountable and transparent manner." Section 7031, entitled "Financial Management and Budget Transparency," lays out requirements for all government-to-government assistance - in this case adding yet another layer of conditioning/reporting to the already conditioning/vetting/reporting/auditing-heavy Palestinian aid program.
Sec. 7041: Limitations
The report notes that this section part (a) of this section has been modified "by adding conditions and removing the waiver authority." The additional condition is related to the International Criminal Court. In last year's bill, this section barred ESF to the PA "if the Palestinians obtain, after the date of enactment of this Act, 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." This year's bill imposes the ban both in the case that the Palestinians obtain such status OR in any manner seek or support a case against Israel at the ICC. It is not clear what waiver authority has been removed - this year's Sec. 7041 waiver language appears to be identical to the previous year.
Sec. 7042: Near East
The report also notes that "the fiscal year 2014 congressional budget justifications submitted by the Department of State include no request for lethal assistance for Syrian opposition groups. Accordingly, the Committee recommendation includes no funds for such purpose."