CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
S. 1067 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) on May 19, 2009. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on March 10, 2010. The House Foreign Affairs Committee reported the bill by voice vote.
S. 1067 would require the President to develop a strategy to support the disarmament of the Lord's Resistance Army-a sectarian guerrilla group in central Africa. The strategy would include:
• A plan to help strengthen efforts by the UN and regional governments to protect civilians from attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army.
• An assessment of viable options through which the U.S. could help develop and support multilateral efforts to eliminate the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army.
• An interagency framework to plan, coordinate, and review diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military elements of U.S. policy across the region regarding the Lord's Resistance Army.
• A description of the type and form of diplomatic engagement across the region undertaken to coordinate and implement U.S. policy regarding the Lord's Resistance Army and to work multilaterally with regional mechanisms, including the Tripartite Plus Commission and the Great Lakes Pact.
• A description of how this engagement will fit within the context of broader efforts and policy objectives in the Great Lakes Region.
The bill does not authorize any funding but it expresses the sense of Congress that $10 million should be provided in Fiscal Year 2011 for assistance to the Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Sudan, and Central African Republic to respond to the humanitarian needs of populations directly affected by the activity of the Lord's Resistance Army. It also expresses the sense of Congress that $10 million should be provided in each of the fiscal years 2011 through 2013 for reconciliation efforts in Uganda.
For over two decades, the Ugandan government has fought a rebel group known as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda. The LRA is led by Joseph Kon and is nominally Christian, but is influenced by a blend of mysticism, Islam and witchcraft, and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and native tradition.
The LRA is accused of murder, abduction, mutilation, sexual enslavement of women and children, and forcing children to engage in murder and other atrocities. An estimated 2 million Ugandans have been displaced by the LRA, while 66,000 children have been abducted to fight for the group. Besides Uganda, the group operates in parts of Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The LRA is currently listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not provided a cost estimate for the version of the bill passed by the Senate, and approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.