CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, September 19, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. XX, a bill To provide flexibility with respect to U.S. support for assistance provided by international financial institutions for Burma, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval. The bill was introduced on September 14, 2012.
H.R. XX would allow the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the United States Executive Director at any international financial institution to vote in favor of the provision of assistance for Burma by the institution, notwithstanding any other provision of law, and would direct the president to provide the appropriate congressional committees with a written notice of any such determination.
The bill would require that prior to making such determination, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury each shall consult with the appropriate congressional committees on assistance to be provided to Burma by an international financial institution, and the national interests served by such assistance.
On April 25, 2012, a press release from the Committee on Foreign Affairs stated: “Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia & the Pacific, today said political reforms implemented in Burma the past year are encouraging, but the United States and its allies must proceed cautiously to ensure the changes continue.
“Manzullo, who chaired a subcommittee hearing on Burma today, said he was pleased earlier this year with Burma’s release of hundreds of political prisoners, as well as the election of Nobel Peace Prize winner and legendary opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League of Democracy party that won 43 of 45 open seats in Parliament. But with 600 political prisoners remaining behind bars and 93 percent of Burma’s legislative body continuing to be controlled by the military junta, are the reforms real or just modest window dressing, Manzullo asked?
“’I commend the Administration for returning an Ambassador to Burma and for USAID’s reopening of its mission there. More than anything, we need Americans on the ground assessing what is actually happening,’ Manzullo said. ‘But now, we face the next step in this journey, and it is my sincere hope that these actions in Burma are the beginning of real, meaningful political reconciliation. However, let’s not lose sight of the reality that Burma has endured 50 years of military dictatorship, and those in power will not give up this power overnight.’’’
A July 11, 2012, statement by the president on the easing of sanctions on Burma stated, in part: “Americans for decades have stood with the Burmese people in their struggle to realize the full promise of their extraordinary country. Responsible investment will help facilitate broad-based economic development, and help bring Burma out of isolation and in to the international community. My Administration will continue to support the Government of Burma in its efforts to work toward international standards for economic growth, responsible governance, and human rights.”
There is no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for this legislation.