H.Res. 780, Urging respect for the constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the democratic transition of power in 2016

H.Res. 780

Urging respect for the constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the democratic transition of power in 2016

Date
November 15, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On­­­­ Tuesday, November 15, 2016, the House will consider H.Res 780, a resolution urging respect for the constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the democratic transition of power in 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.Res. 780 was introduced on June 13, 2016, by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, in addition to the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on the Judiciary. The Committee on Foreign Affairs ordered the resolution reported, as amended, by voice vote on July 14, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 780 is resolved that:

  • The United States should impose sanctions on government officials of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who impede progress toward a democratic transition through credible elections. Such sanctions should target core figures in President Kabila’s government for visa denials and asset freezes;
  • Economic and security assistance should be reviewed for possible termination, while preserving humanitarian assistance, until the election crisis is over;
  • The President of the United States should only lift sanctions when verifiable progress has been made towards holding national election or a free and fair election was held and a new President was sworn in;
  • The United States should support independent DRC civil society organizations and media and investigate and target money laundering activities by key figures close to President Kabila; and
  • The United States should cooperate efforts with key Western and African partners, through other financial intelligence units.

Background

President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo came into power in 2006 through what was widely viewed as free and fair elections. His reelection in 2011 was determined to be “not credible”. His current term is set to expire on December 19, 2016. President Kabila has yet to declare he will step down at the conclusion of his term, and has taken numerous administrative and technical means to try to delay the President election.  In addition, the President has unsuccessfully tried to persuade Parliament to change the constitution and allow for his continuation of power.  All of these efforts have been met with protests, resulting in the deaths of dozens.

On June 23, 2016, the Treasury Department sanctioned a general of the Congolese National Police for his role in targeting civilian protestors. On September 28, 2016, the Treasury Department sanctioned two more individuals for leading an armed group that has threatened the stability of the country and violently suppressed political opposition. President Kabila has stated that the elections may take place as late as 2018.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is not currently available.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1828.