CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, December 18, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider a Senate Amendment to H.R. 3783, the Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on January 18, 2012, by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs. The committee held a mark-up session on March 7, 2012, and ordered the bill to be reported by unanimous consent. The bill was considered by the House under suspension of the rules on September 19, 2012, and was approved by voice vote. The bill was considered in the Senate on December 12, 2012, and was passed with an amendment by voice vote.
H.R. 3783 bill would require the Secretary of State to conduct a detailed threat assessment of Iran’s growing activity in the Western Hemisphere, develop a strategy to address those threats, and report to the Congress on the implementation and evaluation of that strategy.
Findings in the bill state that Iran is pursuing cooperation with Latin American countries by signing economic and security agreements in order to create a network of diplomatic and economic relationships to lessen the blow of international sanctions and oppose Western attempts to constrict its ambitions.
The Senate amendment would provide that the comprehensive strategy required under section 5 of the bill may be submitted in classified form, but shall include an unclassified summary of policy recommendations to address the growing Iranian threat in the Western Hemisphere.
The bill seeks to protect U.S. citizens from threats from Iran and defend American interests and assets in the Western Hemisphere. The bill would state that it should be the policy of the United States to counter Iran’s growing hostile presence and activity in the Western Hemisphere by working together with U.S. allies and partners in the region to mutually deter threats to our interests by Iran.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting the bill would have discretionary costs of $18 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the estimated amounts. The costs include CBO’s estimate that the State Department would have to hire 8 additional employees to carry out the assessment.