H.R. 4411, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014

H.R. 4411

Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014

Date
July 22, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4411, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4411 was introduced on April 7, 2014 by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and was referred to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Financial Services.  The bill was marked up by the Foreign Affairs Committee on June 26, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4411requires the Secretary of State to brief Congress, within 30 days of the bill’s enactment and annually thereafter, on the activities of satellite, broadcast, Internet, and other providers that knowingly provide material support—including broadcasting—to Al-Manar, the official TV station of Hezbollah.  Al-Manar has already been sanctioned by the U.S.  The Secretary must identify the providers that have been sanctioned accordingly under Executive Order 13224,[1] as well as those who have not been sanctioned, and provide a justification of why sanctions have not been imposed.

H.R. 4411 requires the Secretary of the Treasury to prohibit or impose strict conditions on U.S. correspondent banking for foreign financial institutions that engage in certain financial transactions.[2]

H.R. 4411 requires the President to submit a report to Congress, within 30 days of the bill’s enactment, determining whether Hezbollah meets the criteria under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act[3]; and if not, which criteria have not been met.  H.R. 4411 requires the President to submit to Congress, within the same timeframe, a report containing a determination as to whether Hezbollah meets the criteria for a “transnational criminal organization” set forth in Executive Order 13581.[4]

H.R. 4411 requires the Secretary of State to submit a report, within 120 days of the bill’s enactment, detailing Hezbollah’s involvement in the trade of conflict diamonds outside of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.  H.R. 4411 requires the Secretary of State to Submit a report, within 90 days of the bill’s enactment, detailing actions taken by the Department of State through its rewards programs to obtain information on fundraising, financing, and money laundering activities of Hezbollah.  The bill also requires an annual briefing to Congress on the status of such actions.

H.R. 4411 requires the President to submit to Congress, within 90 days of the bill’s enactment, a report listing 1) the countries that support Hezbollah, or in which Hezbollah maintains important portions of its global logistics networks; and 2) a list of countries in which Hezbollah or any of its affiliates conduct significant fundraising, financing, or money laundering activities.  The bill also requires the Administration to provide ongoing briefings to Congress on Hezbollah’s assets and activities related to fundraising, financing, and money laundering worldwide.

H.R. 4411 provides for the bill’s termination within 30 days if the President certifies that Hezbollah is no longer designated as a foreign terrorist organization and poses no significant threat to the U.S. or our allies.

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[1] Executive Order 13224 prohibits persons from taking measures “to assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, such acts of terrorism or those persons listed in the Annex to this order or determined to be subject to this Order.”
[2] Such financial transactions include, in part, 1) knowingly facilitating significant transactions for Hezbollah; 2) knowingly facilitating significant transactions for persons acting on behalf of Hezbollah; and 3) knowingly money laundering to carry out the foregoing activities.
[3] The Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act was enacted “to apply economic and other financial sanctions to significant foreign narcotics traffickers and their organizations worldwide.” Narcotics Sanctions Program, Office of Foreign Asset Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury at 3.
[4] Fact Sheet: New Executive Order Targets Significant Transnational Criminal Organizations, U.S. Department of the Treasury (July 25, 2011).

Background

Hezbollah, “an Iran-backed Shia Muslim militia, political party, and U.S.-designated terrorist organization” continues to pose a significant threat to the United States, our allies, and other interests globally.[5]  Hezbollah has been militarily involved in the conflict in Syria, and continues to launder money through its international financial network to fund terrorist activities.  According to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, “Prior to September 11th, 2001, Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization.  Since that time their capabilities have grown, enabling them to attack the U.S. and our allies around the world—from the Philippines, to Bulgaria, and even on our doorstep in South America.”[6]  H.R. 4411 equips the Administration to further restrict Hezbollah’s international financial network and its fundraising activities.

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[5] Christopher M. Blanchard, Lebanon: Background and U.S. Policy, Congressional Research Service (Apr. 4, 2012) at Summary.
[6] Reps. Meadows, Schneider, Royce, Engel to Author Tougher Sanctions Against Hezbollah, House Foreign Affairs Committee (Apr. 3, 2014).

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 4411 would cost $3 million over five years.  An offset has been included in Sec. 303 of the bill.  Any impact on direct spending and revenues would be insignificant.

Additional Information

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