H.R. 301: To Provide for the Establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia

H.R. 301

To Provide for the Establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia

Sponsor
Rep. Frank Wolf

Date
September 17, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, September 17, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 301, a bill to provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced on January 15, 2013 by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bill Summary

H.R. 301 appoints a special envoy to promote religious freedom in the Near East and South Central Asia.  This envoy would be established within the Department of State and should, “be a person of recognized distinction in the field of human rights and religious freedoms.”  The envoy would hold the rank of ambassador, and would not be eligible to hold any other position of Federal employment for the time in which they hold this position. 

This legislation also enumerates the duties of the special envoy.  These include:

  • To promote the right of religious freedom of religious minorities in the countries of the Near East and South Central Asia
  • To monitor acts of religious intolerance and incitement against religious minorities in the region
  • To ensure that the economic and security needs of these religious minority communities are protected
  • To work with foreign governments to address laws which are discriminatory against religious minorities
  • To coordinate and assist in the preparation of reports required by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

The special envoy would be authorized, at the behest of the President, to represent the United States in cases relevant to religious freedoms in the region including in contacts with foreign governments and international organizations and multilateral conferences related to religious freedoms.  The envoy would prioritize programs and activities in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.  This position would expire October 1, 2018. 

This legislation authorizes $1 million for the period 2014-2018 for “diplomatic and consular programs”.  However, the legislation does not authorize additional funds.  Instead, it requires the Secretary of States to eliminate positions in order to offset these costs.

Background

No CBO score is currently available.

Cost

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.