H.R. 2867senadmt: Senate Amendment to United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2011

H.R. 2867senadmt

Senate Amendment to United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2011

Sponsor
Rep. Frank Wolf

Date
December 17, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Friday, December 16, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2867 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) on September 8, 2011 and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.  The House approved H.R. 2867 on September 15, 2011 by a vote of 391-21.  The Senate passed the bill with amendment on December 13, 2011 by voice vote.

Bill Summary

The Senate Amendment to H.R. 2867 would impose term limits for appointees to United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reform, limiting members to two full terms of two years each in length.

The amended bill would also subject Commission members to certain federal travel rules and Department of State travel regulations regarding government authorized travel.

Additionally, the bill would authorize Commission funding for fiscal years 2012 through 2014.

H.R. 2867 would specify that, for purposes of redress under various antidiscrimination laws (e.g., those dealing with employment discrimination, family and medical leave, veterans reemployment, Americans with Disabilities Act, etc.), Commission employees shall be treated the same as Congressional employees.

H.R. 2867 would include a “standards of conduct and disclosure” section that would insert in the underlying statute the $250,000 cap that has been in place since FY10 in place of the nine-year-old $100,000 cap on how much of its annual funding the Commission may use to contract for temporary services (such as GSA administrative support, and project-specific translation and subject-matter expertise); and would correct/update the House Committee name in the underlying statute (from “International Relations” to “Foreign Affairs”).

H.R. 2867 would require a one-time report by GAO on the following: (1) review the effectiveness of federal programs to promote international religious freedom; (2) assess the roles and functions of the Office on International Religious Freedom, the relationship to other offices in the Department of State, and the role of the Ambassador at Large; (3) analyze the Commission's structure as an independent nonpartisan entity in relation to other U.S. advisory commissions; and (4) review the relationship between the Ambassador at Large and the Commission.

Lastly, the bill would extend the Commission’s sunset date by three years, to 2014, thus requiring further legislative action and reauthorization after the issuance of the GAO report.

Cost

At press time, there was no CBO score available for H.R. 2867.