H.R. 2410: Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011

H.R. 2410

Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011

Date
June 10, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 2410 will be considered under a structured rule. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) on May 14, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2410 authorizes $18 billion in Fiscal Year 2010 for State Department programs, the Peace Corps, and international organizations.  The bill includes funding for United Nations peacekeeping dues and other diplomatic programs.  It also authorizes unspecified sums for various programs for Fiscal Year 2011, and authorizes changes to law regarding a number of foreign policy issues.  According to CBO, the legislation would cost $40.6 billion over five years.

H.R. 2410 represents a dramatic increase in State Department spending during an economic downturn, authorizing a 13.2 percent increase in funding over Fiscal Year 2009 levels.  For non-construction items, the legislation increases funding by 22.9 percent over last year's levels.  In addition, the bill would increase State Department's salary accounts by 35 percent over last year. 

The following is a summary of the bill's main provisions:

Department of State Foreign Affairs:  Authorizes $7.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2010 and "such sums as may be necessary" in 2001, to fund the State Department's foreign affairs initiatives.

Public Diplomacy:  Provides $500 million for Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, to provide for public diplomacy activities.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor:  Provides $20 million for Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, to provide for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Capital Investment Fund:  Provides $160 million for Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, for the Capital Investment Fund, which is used to modernize and improve information technology and finance construction of buildings overseas.

Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance:  Provides $1.8 billion for Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, for embassy security, construction, and maintenance.

State Department Personnel:  Provides the Secretary of State authority to hire over 1,500 additional entry-level Foreign Service officers.  The bill establishes an equalized global pay scale for Foreign Service personnel in Washington D.C. and overseas.  

Exchange Programs:  Provides $633 million for Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, for educational and cultural exchange programs.

Stabilization Initiative:  Provides $323 million for Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative, which is designed to coordinate the assets of multiple government agencies during a stabilization crisis overseas.   The funding represents a seven-fold increase, from $45 million in Fiscal Year 2009.

International Organizations:  The bill authorizes $1.8 billion in Fiscal Year 2010, and such funds as may be necessary 2011, for contributions to international organizations.  International organizations to which the U.S. contributes include the United Nations (U.N.), the Organization of American States (OAS), and other inter-American organizations, as well as other regional, legal, research, scientific, and commodity organizations.  The legislation does not require the U.N. to make any reforms that many Republican Members have proposed. 

United Nations Arrearages:  Requires the U.S. to pay arrears to the U.N., in addition to the payment of Assessed Contributions to International Organizations and Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities.  The bill would authorize such sums as necessary to make the extra payments.

Peacekeeping Operations:  Authorizes $2.3 billion for contributions to the U.N. and to regional organizations for international peacekeeping activities in Fiscal Year 2010.  Additionally, the bill lifts the statutory cap on U.S. payments to the U.N. for assessed dues in support of U.N. peacekeeping operations to 27.1 percent during calendar years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  It also authorizes the payment of all sums as necessary to pay all U.S. arrearages in payments to the U.N.

Peace Corps:  Authorizes $450 million in Fiscal Year 2010 and 32.4 percent more than Fiscal Year 2009, and such sums as may be necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, for the Peace Corps.  The measure authorizes the Peace Corps Director to establish a special program that assigns returned Peace Corps volunteers or other volunteers to provide short term development or other relief assistance.  Finally, the bill increases the readjustment allowance given to volunteers after completion of their service from $125 per month to $225 per month served.

International Commissions:  Provides $73 million in Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as necessary in 2011, for the U.S. and Mexico's International Boundary Water Commission.  The bill would also provide $51 million in Fiscal Year 2010 and such sums as may be necessary in 2011, for the U.S. and Canada's International Boundary Water Commission.

Refugee Assistance:  Provides $1.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as may be necessary in 2011, for migration and refugee activities.  The bill also authorizes $25 million and such sums as may be necessary in 2011 for refugees in Israel.

Centers and Foundations: Authorizes $43 million over Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 for the Asia Foundation.  The bill also authorizes $100 million in Fiscal Year 2010 and such sums as may be necessary in 2011 for the National Endowment for Democracy.

Representation Allowances:  Provides $8 million for Fiscal Year 2010 and such sums as necessary in Fiscal Year 2011 for representation allowances, which are used by Foreign Service officers to make expenses to "properly" represent the U.S.

Study Abroad:  Establishes a "Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program" to provide grants for college students to study abroad by soliciting funds from the private sector.  The bill authorizes a foundation to raise funds and to operate a program to award grants to U.S. students for study abroad at non-governmental institutions that provide and promote study abroad opportunities for U.S. students. The measure also authorizes $40 million in Fiscal Year 2010, and $80 million in 2011 for the foundation.

Public Diplomacy Reserve Corps:  Establishes a Public Diplomacy Reserve Corps, consisting of mid-and senior-level former Foreign Service officers who are recruited to provide training to build up the corps of professionals in diplomacy.

Documentary Exchange Films:  Authorizes the Secretary of State to make grants to U.S. nongovernmental organizations that produce documentary films to promote "better understanding of the U.S."

Scholarship Programs:  Authorizes $600,000 annually for 2010 and 2011, for a pilot program to award scholarships for internships in the U.S. to students from Central Asia.  The bill also includes similar amounts in 2010 and 2011, for scholarships for students from the South-Pacific, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.

International Exchange & Information Programs:  Includes a total of $633 million in Fiscal Year 2010, and such sums as may be necessary in Fiscal Year 2011, for education and cultural exchange programs.

International Broadcasting:  Authorizes a total of $732 million in Fiscal Year 2010, for international broadcasting activities, and such sums as may be necessary in Fiscal Year 2011.

Arms Control & Nonproliferation:  Authorizes $3 million for 25 new positions at the State Department for arms control and nonproliferation functions.  It also establishes an arms control and nonproliferation rotation program for State Department employees, and other federal agencies, which would give participants rotational assignments in other departments and agencies to broaden their knowledge of arms control issues.

Arms Export Control Procedures:  Requires the President to conduct a comprehensive review and assessment of the United States' arms export controls system.  The legislation also requires the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) to establish performance goals.  The bill requires the DDTC to ensure that processing time for export licensing applications for U.S. allies that directly support combat or peacekeeping missions would be no more than seven days, and attempt to ensure that the processing time for certain applications to export goods to security agencies of NATO allies, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Israel and other appropriate non-NATO allies would be no more than 30 days.

Israel:  Adds Israel to an existing list of countries that receive special treatment regarding the export of U.S. defense items, including an expedited 15-day congressional review period (rather than the 30-day review period that applies to other countries).  The bill also requires an unclassified certification to accompany all U.S. arms sales to Middle Eastern countries that the sale does not constitute a threat to Israel's "Qualitative Military Edge."  The measure also authorizes assistance to Israel for the continued co-development of medium and short-range missile defense systems, and the integration of these weapons systems with U.S. ballistic missile defense systems and force protection efforts.

Merida Initiative:  Establishes a "Merida Coordinator" to track all Merida Initiative-related efforts throughout the U.S. government and requires the President to designate a Merida Coordinator at the State Department.  The bill also requires the President to incorporate Caribbean countries into the Initiative.

Small Arms Trafficking:  Creates an interagency task force to coordinate government efforts to reduce and prevent illegal firearms trafficking from the United States throughout the Western Hemisphere.  The measure also increases fines for such trafficking to between $1 million and $3 million, and potential prison time from 10 years to 20 years.

Religious Freedom in Turkey:  Urges the Turkish government to respect the property and religious rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to grant the Patriarchate appropriate international recognition and ecclesiastic succession, and to allow the Ecumenical Patriarchate the right to train and employ clergy of all nationalities.

 

Background

H.R. 2410 was reported by the Committee on Foreign Affairs by voice vote on June 9, 2009.  Congress historically has been reluctant to pass foreign aid authorization bills, unlike appropriations bills for foreign aid activities.  The last major foreign aid authorization was enacted in 1985.  However, Congress has recently enacted more focused State Department authorization bills.

Although it was reported out of Committee on voice vote, Republicans opposed the bill at markup.  Republicans offered a GOP substitute measure which was not adopted by the Majority.  The alternative would have saved taxpayers $2.84 billion dollars in one year as compared to the Democrat bill, still increasing funding for State operations almost four percent.  Additionally, it would not have included language in H.R. 2410 to authorize payment of arrears to the United Nations and increase the cap on contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations.  Finally, the GOP substitute would have tightened sanctions against Iran, added new measures to increase Foreign Military Funding for Israel, and supported missile defense for Israel.

Members may have concerns with several provisions in the bill.  H.R. 2410 includes billions of dollars in new funding, 2,200 new Foreign Service employees, 48 new reporting requirements, and 20 new government entities (offices, foundations, programs, and working groups).  Moreover, although the State Department has not released a detailed budget justification, this bill includes a single-year increase of 35 percent in the State Department's basic salary and operations account, as well as a 23 percent pay raise for overseas Foreign Service Officers.  H.R. 2410 also authorizes U.S. contributions for U.N. peacekeeping activities at a higher rate (27.1 percent) than the U.N. assesses for the United States (25.9 percent)-resulting in an additional $100 million in taxpayer funding for the U.N.

There are also numerous social policy concerns with the legislation: 

Abortion Advocacy:  Establishes an Office for Global Women's Issues to promote the task of "women's empowerment internationally."  Given the rescission of the Mexico City Policy and Sec. Clinton's recent statement that "we are now an administration that will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive health care" and "reproductive health includes access to abortion," there are serious concerns that this office will be used to promote the legalization of abortion abroad.  Similarly, Members may be concerned that this office is not an advisable replacement for the International Women's Issues office that currently exists in the State Department because of its likely involvement in advocating for legalized abortion in the world. 

In Committee, the Majority rejected an amendment on party lines by Rep. Smith (R-NJ) that would have authorized the creation of an identically situated Office, but with a much more robust and clearly defined set of goals, that did not include promotion of abortion (but did include the situations of concern noted by the Democrats).  Specifically, the amendment included a provision stating, "It is the policy of the United States Government not to lobby sovereign countries, including through multilateral mechanisms, to change their domestic laws and policies to legalize, fund, or promote abortion except in cases of forcible rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother."  Interestingly, during debate of the bill, the Majority claimed that such advocacy is already prohibited by law, yet proceeded to vote against the Smith amendment which would have restated what they claimed was current law. 

Members may be concerned that this legislation contains no protection against Sec. Clinton's stated priorities for the new Office, and the Majority's promotion of international legalization of abortion efforts through the Office (as is illustrated by their rejection of the Smith amendment). 

The Rules Committee inserted a Manager's Amendment to the bill, including a provision entitled, "Relationship to Other Laws Regarding Abortion," which states that the bill does not affect "existing statutory prohibitions on the use of funds to engage in any activity or effort to alter the laws or policies in effect in any foreign country concerning the circumstances under which abortion is permitted, regulated, or prohibited."  Unfortunately, the "law" that they reference does not exist, therefore, it is clear that this amendment in no way addresses the objections that many pro-life Members have expressed with the bill. 

Perceived Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity:  Requires the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to track violence or restrictions based on "perceived sexual orientation and gender identity."  The bill would also require that the annual human rights report include information about violence or discrimination based on "perceived sexual orientation or gender identity."  Finally, the bill would require Foreign Service officers to take instruction on identifying violence or discrimination based on "perceived sexual orientation or gender identity."  Some Members may be concerned that the language in the bill is far too vague, and that the terms used in these provisions are not defined.  The terms have been very broadly defined by the American Psychological Association to include such terms as exhibitionism, prostitution, and pedophilia.

International Advocacy Regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity:  Requires the Secretary of State to work through U.S. diplomatic and consular missions to encourage foreign governments to reform or repeal laws that criminalize "homosexuality or consensual homosexual conduct, or restricting the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms, consistent with U.S. law, by homosexual individuals or organizations."  During Committee consideration of the bill, Rep. Pence (R-IN) offered an amendment that charged the State Department with continuing in their work to "to protect all people against gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, as described in section 116(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961."  This language would have committed the U.S. to the protection of homosexual people-as they would any person-against torture, cruel, inhuman treatment, or "other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, and the security of person."  This amendment was voted down in Committee. 

Members may be concerned that the provision remaining in the bill mandates that American diplomats make overturning other country's laws regarding homosexuality a foreign policy priority, regardless of its national security considerations.  Members may feel that this provision complicates our ability to effectively pursue and secure key national security interests both domestically and abroad.  Furthermore, the bill does not include a conscience protection for any American Foreign Service Officer who might be directed (under this provision) to act contrary to his religious or ethical convictions. 

CEDAW:  Affirms controversial international agreements to which the U.S. is not a party, including citing as authoritative, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a document that has been used as a tool of radical social policy and abortion promotion by the treaty body charged with overseeing its implementation. 

Note:  The bill no longer includes a provision to establish same-sex domestic partnership benefits for Foreign Service Officers or Peace Corps volunteers.  Instead, Secretary Clinton has stated that she will do this through executive fiat by issuing regulations which extend those benefits. 

Family Groups Scoring the Bill:  Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, National Right to Life, and Focus on the Family are all opposed to the bill.

 

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing H.R. 2410 would cost $40.6 billion over five years, assuming appropriation of the specified and estimated amounts.

Amendments

1) Berman (D-CA):  The Manager's Amendment makes a number of technical changes.  The amendment also changes the authorization levels for a number of accounts.  Major changes made by the amendment include:

•  Increases the authorization for the Office of Inspector General by $5 million in Fiscal Year 2010.

•  Changes the funds for the National Endowment for Democracy from "such sums" in Fiscal Year 2011 to $115 million.

•  Increases funding for Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance from $100 million to $200 million.

•  Stipulates that nothing in the section of the bill that establishes the Office for Global Women's Issues is construed as "affecting in any way existing statutory prohibitions on the use of funds to engage in any activity of effort to alter the laws or policies in effect in any foreign country concerning the circumstances under which abortion is permitted, regulated, or prohibited."

•  Expands the circumstances under which the family of a Foreign Service officer may receive a government death gratuity.

•  Expresses the sense of Congress that the Secretary should appoint a coordinator to help implement the International Nuclear Fuel Bank.

•  Requires a report on certain aspects of U.S. export controls, including scientific exports and national security.

•  Stipulates that nothing in the bill authorizes funding for the Arrow Weapons System or David's Sling weapons program.

•  Increase penalties for the trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

•  Requires the Secretary to develop and implement a system to monitor, evaluate, and coordinate the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance.  The amendment requires a report on the system within one year.

•  Requires the Secretary to develop and implement a strategy to address global hunger and food security within 30 days of enactment.

2)  Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):  Requires the Secretary to withhold $4,472,100 from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Fiscal Year 2010.

3) Polis (D-CO):  Requires the Secretary to submit a plan to increase the career incentives provided to Foreign Services officers to serve in parts of the Department of State that are not primarily focused on regional issues.

4) Hunter (R-CA):  Adds the Secretary of Defense as a member of the Task Force on the Prevention of Illicit Small Arms Trafficking in the Western Hemisphere.

5) Nadler (D-NY)Expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. should continue working with the former Soviet Union to come to an agreement where each state of the Former Soviet Union would pay pensions to the tens of thousands of beneficiaries now living in the U.S.

6)  McCaul (R-TX):  Requires the Secretary to develop and transmit a comprehensive interagency strategy and implementation plan to address the ongoing crisis in Sudan.  The plan would be required to include how a strategy would be implemented, how financial aid would be used, and a method for determining the priority of strategies.

7) Larson (D-WA)/Kirk (R-IL):  Inserts a statement of policy regarding climate change.  The amendment states that it shall be the policy of the U.S., with respect to the U.N.'s climate change framework, that the permanent representative of the U.S. to the U.N. should prevent any weakening of the existing international legal requirements related to intellectual property rights on energy technology.

8) Sessions (R-TX):  Expresses the sense of Congress that Israel has the inalienable right to defend itself in the face of an imminent nuclear or military threat from Iran, terrorist organizations, and countries that harbor them.

9) Davis, Susan (D-CA)/Grayson (D-FL):  Requires the Inspectors General of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to address in their audits, as appropriate, the impact of U.S. development assistance on the empowerment of Afghan woman.

10) Brown-Waite (R-FL):  Strikes Section 505 from the bill.  The section requires that U.S. acquire the rights to the film "A Fateful Harvest" and requires that the Archivist make copies of the film available for purchase and public viewing within the U.S.

11) Holt (D-NJ):  Requires the Secretary of State to submit a report with recommendations for changes to the Hague Convention on the International Child Abduction and related U.S. laws that would supply the U.S. with additional tools to facilitate the swift return of U.S. children wrongfully removed from the country.

12)  Brown-Waite (R-FL):  Strikes Section 303 from the bill.  The section establishes the "Lessons Learned Center" as a organization with the sole purpose of increasing the ability of the Department of State to effectively carry out their missions by devising a system for the collection, analysis, archiving, and dissemination of "lessons learned."

13) Rep. Bishop (D-NY):  Requires a GAO study of the effects of USAID's use of waivers under the Buy America Act for HIV test kits on United States-based manufacturers and the availability of and access to HIV testing for at-risk populations in low-income countries.

14) Rep. Moore (D-WI):  Includes a statement of Congress that passage of laws in Afghanistan that restrict or repress human rights, including the rights of women, undermines the support and goodwill shown by the international community and the U.S. through the considerable financial aid that has been provided to help rebuild Afghanistan.

15) Rep. Royce (R-CA):  Expresses a sense of Congress that Eritrea's support for armed insurgents in Somalia poses a direct threat to the national security interests of the U.S. and East African nations, that the Secretary of State should designate Eritrea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and that the United Nations Security Council should impose sanctions against Eritrea.

16) Rep. Meeks (D-NY):  Requires the Secretary of State to report to Congress on bilateral efforts to promote equality and eliminate racial discrimination in the Western Hemisphere.

17) Rep. Matheson (D-UT):  Provides that the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Director of the Census Bureau, will conduct a feasibility study and report to Congress on whether there can be implemented a method for using the passports of U.S. citizens living overseas to facilitate voting in U.S. elections and for being counted in the census.

18) Rep. Kirkpatrick (D-AZ):  Adds to the monitoring and evaluation system established in the bill a requirement to look at the illegal southbound flow of cash.

19) Rep. Kirk (R-IL):  Allows the Secretary of State to make payments from the Rewards for Justice program to officers or employees of foreign governments who provide information leading to the capture of exceptional and high-profile terrorists.

20) Rep. Lynch (D-MA):  Directs the State Department to report to Congress on the 1059 and 1244 Special Immigrant Visa Programs for certain Iraqis and Afghanis who work for, or on behalf of, the U.S. Government. 

21) Rep. Hill (D-IN):  Requires the Department of State to conduct a cost-benefit analysis in conjunction with all appropriate federal departments and agencies on how to best use U.S. funds to reduce smuggling and trafficking in persons.

22) Rep. Peters (D-MI):  Provides that the Secretary of State report to Congress on the flow of people, goods, and services across the international borders shared by the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region due to the effects of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). 

23) Reps. Teague (D-NM), Titus (D-NV), and Giffords (D-AZ):  Creates the Global Clean Energy Exchange Program to strengthen research, educational exchange, and international cooperation with the aim of promoting the development and deployment of clean and efficient energy technologies.

24) Rep. Johnson (D-TX):  Establishes and provides financial assistance for exchange programs for Afghani women legislators.

25) Rep. Johnson (D-TX):  Expresses the sense of Congress that the use of child soldiers is unacceptable and a violation of human rights.

26) Rep. Poe (R-TX):  Requires the President to report total cash and in-kind contributions to the entire United Nations system each fiscal year by every agency or department.

27) Reps. Castle (R-DE) and Dent (R-PA):  Requires reports to Congress listing countries that refuse or unreasonably delay accepting nationals of such countries who are under final orders of removal from the U.S.  Empowers the Secretary of State to suspend diplomatic visa issuances to any country that continues to deny or unreasonably delay repatriation.