|Sponsor||Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana|
|Date||July 17, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)|
|Staff Contact||Jon Hiler|
On Tuesday, July 17, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider of H.R. 6018, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on June 26, 2012, by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. On June 27, 2012, the committee held a mark-up session and ordered the bill to be reported by voice vote.
H.R. 6018 would authorize $16.17 billion in appropriations in FY2013 for the necessary expenses of the Department of State and the Foreign Service, including: personnel costs; worldwide security protection; information technology systems; the construction, maintenance, and security of U.S. embassies and overseas facilities; educational and cultural exchange programs; conflict stabilization operations; representational allowances; protection of foreign missions and officials; emergencies in the diplomatic and consular service; repatriation loans; payment to the American Institute in Taiwan; and for the Office of the Inspector General. Specific highlights are below.
TITLE I--AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
In particular, the bill would authorize $8.98 billion for Diplomatic and Consular Programs, the main State Department salaries and operations account. This is the same level as the FY13 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill reported by the House Appropriations Committee. Within that amount, $24.1 million would be authorized for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (the same as current year enacted levels).
The bill would also authorize $1.55 billion (the same as current-year enacted levels) for U.S. assessed contributions to the United Nations and other international organizations of which the United States is a member.
In addition, the bill would authorize $1.83 billion (the same as current-year enacted levels) to enable the United States to pay assessed contributions for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
The bill would also authorize funding for FY13 at current-year enacted levels, to enable the U.S. to meet its obligations as a participant in international commissions dealing with boundaries, water resources, and related matters with Canada and Mexico; and those dealing with international fisheries.
The bill would also authorize current-year enacted levels ($375 million) for the Peace Corps, of which $5.15 million is for the Office of the Inspector General of the Peace Corps.
Lastly, the bill would authorize $122.7 million for the National Endowment for Democracy, which matches the FY13 level in the House Appropriations Committee’s State-Foreign Operations bill.
TITLE II--DEPARTMENT OF STATE AUTHORITIES AND ACTIVITIES
The bill would correct an oversight in the 2002 authorization to replenish the International Litigation Fund (which is used to defray the expenses of the United States in major international litigation before international tribunals, such as trade arbitrations), by allowing the Department to retain a small percentage of the awards received for international claims successfully prosecuted by the Department (rather than having to re-capitalize the ILF with U.S. taxpayer funds). This revision would allow the fund to be replenished from cases where the Department has successfully defended the U.S. and been awarded costs and attorneys' fees.
The bill would also transfer statutory responsibility for performing actuarial duties related to the State Department's retirement systems from the Treasury Department to the State Department.
In addition, the bill would grant the State Department discretion to award local guard and protective service contracts in high risk areas (such as Afghanistan and Iraq) on the basis of “best value to the Government” (according to a defined, regulatory process) rather than having to go with the lowest price bid.
The bill would also extend until 2015 a provision (carried in prior appropriations acts) granting the Secretary of State increased discretion in conducting investigations of serious incidents (involving injury, loss of life, or significant property destruction) at high-risk U.S. posts (such as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq). Otherwise, current regulation requires the convening of a full Accountability Review Board (ARB), a formal, personnel-heavy process that could put ARB personnel unnecessarily into harm’s way and place a strain on resources at those high risk posts.
The bill would also authorize the establishment in the office of the Secretary of State a Coordinator for Cyber Issues, require the Secretary of State to submit a one-time report on the Department of State’s cybersecurity efforts and a list of “countries of cybersecurity concern,” and would require the Coordinator for Cyber Issues to submit a strategy for United States engagement on international cyber issues.
TITLE III--ORGANIZATION AND PERSONNEL AUTHORITIES
The bill would address a number of personnel issues relating to State Department employees, such as authorizing the Secretary to suspend Foreign Service members accused of a crime or limiting the duration of “non-career” appointments in the Foreign Service.
TITLE IV--UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING
The bill would authorize $744.5 million for International Broadcasting Operations and $7 million for Broadcasting Capital Improvements.
TITLE V--ARMS EXPORT CONTROL ACT AMENDMENTS AND RELATED PROVISIONS
This bill would clarify that the aggregate annual limitation on excess defense articles applies to articles authorized to be transferred and raises the annual limit from $425 million to $450 million.
The bill would also provide the Director of Defense Trade Controls at the Department of State with the ability to use the fees that it collects from arms manufacturers and exporters for all the expenses associated with the agency. This would authorize the Department to use these retained fees to conduct the full range of defense trade control functions and activities.
In addition, the bill would increase monetary thresholds for 15- and 30-day Congressional review periods attendant to considering resolutions of disapproval of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and commercial arms sales under the Arms Export Control Act. For close partner countries, the limits would be raised from $25 to $75 million for Significant Military Equipment (SME), and from $100 million to $200 million for total contract value. For all other countries, from $14 to $50 million for SME, $50 to $100 million for total contract value. However, the bill would retain existing statutory threshold levels for notification of the export to Congress.
The bill would require that the annual justification for proposed arms sales includes a discussion of the extent to which such transfers advance U.S. strategies for regional security cooperation.
The bill would also clarify that the prohibition on transactions with state sponsors of terrorism extends to nationals of those countries which have had substantive contacts with any country that is a state sponsor of terrorism sufficient to give rise to a reasonable risk of diversion.
The bill would allow law enforcement agencies to engage in transactions for the purpose of prosecuting persons suspected of supporting countries that are state sponsors of terrorism. (According to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, in efforts to prosecute individuals providing defense articles and defense services to state sponsors of terrorism, many law enforcement agencies have had to drop or curtail criminal investigations of export violations because they did not fall within this exemption.)
The bill would also require that the President provide to Congress an annual report on the Foreign Military Financing Program, and would require that the President transmit as part of the supporting materials of the annual congressional budget justification a report reviewing the extent to which FMF requests are based on well-formulated and realistic capability requirements of foreign recipients; the extent to which the use of such authority is consistent with U.S. conventional arms transfer policy; and the extent to which the Department of State has developed and implemented specific plans to monitor and evaluate outcomes under the authority of this section, including at least one country or international organization assessment each fiscal year.
The bill would also authorize the President to establish special licensing procedures for the export of replacement components, parts, and related items that are not designated as major defense equipment or significant military equipment to close U.S. allies (a group that includes NATO member countries, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Israel, and New Zealand).
The bill would include a section providing the President with limited, conditional authority to remove commercial communication satellites and related components and technology from the United States Munitions List. It would also prohibit the export of such satellites and related components and technology to state sponsors of terrorism, and certain other countries subject to a U.S. arms embargo (which would include the People’s Republic of China). This section was carried in H.R.4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.
In addition,the bill would require that the President submit quarterly reports to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees on licenses and other authorizations for the export of commercial communication satellites and related components and technology. This section was also carried in H.R.4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.
Lastly, the bill would require the President to establish a program to provide for the end-use monitoring of munitions and related technical data regulated by the Department of Commerce. It would further provide that the President report to Congress on implementation of this requirement not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act. This section was carried in H.R.4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, as well.
According to a statement from the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: “H.R. 6018 is a carefully crafted bill which focuses on those basic funding and operational authorities on which we have been able to reach bipartisan agreement. Despite significant efforts by this Committee, the Department of State has not been authorized for nearly a decade. The last authorization bill to become law…was enacted in September of 2002.
“The lack of authorities in the intervening years has eroded our foreign policy leverage with our primary agency of jurisdiction, the Department of State. By adopting this bill, the Committee will strengthen its role in exercising effective oversight of the Department of State and fulfill our obligations to the American public. The text authorizes basic funding for the State Department, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the Peace Corps at fiscally responsible levels coordinated with the Appropriations Committee. Most accounts are authorized at the bipartisan levels from the FY12 omnibus bill.
“H.R. 6018 also includes management reforms to increase the efficiency, accountability, and safety of our personnel overseas. It establishes important jurisdiction and oversight authorities in the expanding fields of cybersecurity, counterterrorism communications, and arms export controls. It helps American businesses by modifying Arms Export Control authorities to reduce obstacles and streamline the process for exporting selected equipment and parts. At the same time, it enhances U.S. security by increasing safeguards against the transfer of U.S. technologies to State Sponsors of Terrorism and countries subject to U.S. arms embargoes.”
Of note, the bill does not include any foreign aid authorizations.
There is no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available at this time. However, based on the express authorization levels in the bill, the Committee estimates that H.R. 6018 will cost $16.17 billion in FY13. The account levels authorized in H.R. 6018 are approximately $2 billion (11 percent) below current-year levels and $2.8 billion (15 percent) below the Administration’s FY13 request.