CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Sunday, December 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider S. 2318, the Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012. S. 2318 was introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) passed the Senate with an amendment on December 19, 2012 by voice vote.
S. 2318 would authorize the State Department to offer rewards for the arrest or conviction of participants in transnational organized crime, or (after notice to Congress) foreign nationals accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide. The bill would all the State Department to make payments for information that would prevent or disrupt transnational organized crime or lead to the arrest or conviction of persons involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide.
Under the bill, the State Department would be required to consult as is appropriate with relevant agencies or departments, rather than solely with the attorney general, as is the case under current law. The department must notify Congress at least 15 days before announcing the availability of new rewards, and must explain why the arrest or conviction of such foreign national is in the interests of the United States. The legislation would also strike a specific authorization in current law that provides for a reward for bin Laden.
The bill would clarify that nothing in the legislation shall be construed as authorizing the use of activity that is otherwise precluded by the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act of 2002. That law protects U.S. military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the federal government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the U.S. is not party.
According to Senate Report 112-232, “S. 2318, the Department of State Rewards Program Update and Technical Corrections Act of 2012, expands the existing authority of the Secretary of State to issue rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of persons accused of committing certain crimes. Under current law, the Secretary is authorized to issue rewards for information related to terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and for information leading to the arrest or conviction of persons indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law by three specified international tribunals: the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR', all of which are now winding down their activities. The origins of these programs date back to 1984 when, at the request of the Reagan administration, Congress passed the Act to Combat International Terrorism.”
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would have discretionary costs of $10 million over the 2013-2017 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.
Pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply to this legislation because it would not affect direct spending or revenues.
S. 2318 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated budgetary impact of S. 2318 is shown in the following table. The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 150 (international affairs).