H.J.Res. 66: Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003

H.J.Res. 66

Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003

Sponsor
Rep. Joseph Crowley

Date
July 20, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, the House is scheduled consider H.J. Res. 66 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) on May 26, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.  

Bill Summary

H.J. Res. 66 would renew for one year the import restrictions in Section 3 of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003.  The relevant sanctions are currently set to expire on July 25, 2011.

This resolution is subject to the fast-track procedures in Section 152 of the Trade Act of 1974.  As such, it is non-amendable and privileged.

On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, the House is scheduled consider H.J. Res. 66 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) on May 26, 2011, and referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.  

Background

The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act (P.L. 108-61) banned all imports from Burma until the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the military regime of Burma, makes substantial and measurable progress to end violations of human rights, implement a democratic government, and meet its obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements. Due to annual sunset requirements of the law, the sanctions have been renewed every year since 2003.

As noted by the Ways and Means Committee, current law included requires the Administration to submit an annual report on whether the sanctions have effectively improved conditions in Burma and furthered U.S. policy objectives, along with the impact of sanctions on other U.S. national security, economic and foreign policy interests.  Additionally, the law grants the President the authority to waive the sanctions if it is in the national interest, and the law directs the President to craft a multilateral sanctions regime to pressure Burma to improve human rights.  H.J. Res 66 seeks to continue this policy framework.

In November 2010, Burma’s ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council, held the country’s first election in 20 years. However, this election was in name only and by no means free and fair – prodemocracy opposition parties were prevented from having any significant role, and election fraud was rampant. The government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, consisting largely of former junta cabinet ministers and high-ranking government and military officials, won approximately 77% of all parliamentary seats – assuring that perennial, rampant repression persists. Extending the sanctions within the specific framework established under the 2003 law continues to be appropriate in light of such circumstances.

Cost

There was no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for this bill.