Summary: H.R.5948 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Public Law No: 109-480 (01/12/2007)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on December 9, 2006. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act of 2006 - (Sec. 3) Amends the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004 to state that it is U.S. policy to: (1) call for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus; (2) support the aspirations of the people of the Republic of Belarus for democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and to preserve their country's independence; (3) support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in Belarus; (4) refuse to accept the results of the March 2006 presidential elections in Belarus and support new presidential elections; (5) refuse to recognize any referendum that would affect Belarus' sovereignty; and (6) work with other countries and international organizations to promote Belarus' integration into the European community of democracies.

(Sec. 4) Revises the activities which may be supported by assistance under this Act, including support for youth groups, independent trade unions and entrepreneurs, human rights defenders, independent media, democratic political parties, and international exchanges. Extends authorization of appropriations through FY2008 for such purposes.

(Sec. 5) Includes television broadcasting within the scope of increased support and funding for U.S. government and surrogate broadcasting to Belarus. (Currently, such support is limited to radio broadcasting.)

(Sec. 6) Establishes specified economic and U.S. entry sanctions against Belarus until the President certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the government of Belarus has made progress in meeting specified conditions respecting: (1) release of political and religious prisoners and accounting for the disappearances of opposition leaders and journalists; (2) cessation of political harassment; (3) prosecution of senior government leaders for embezzlement of state assets and administration of fraudulent elections; and (4) holding free presidential and parliamentary elections under independent supervision.

Authorizes the President to deny U.S. entry to any alien who: (1) is in the senior leadership of the government of Belarus; (2) is an immediate family member of such person; or (3) through business dealings with senior government leadership derives significant financial benefit from policies or actions that undermine democratic institutions or impede Belarus' transition to democracy.

Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) no loan, credit guarantee, insurance, financing, or other similar financial assistance should be extended by any U.S. agency (including the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation) to the government of Belarus, except for humanitarian goods and agricultural or medical products; and (2) no funds available to the Trade and Development Agency should be available for Agency activities in or for Belarus.

Expresses the sense of Congress that the President should block all property and property interests that on or after the date of the enactment of this Act: (1) are owned in whole or in part by the government of Belarus, or by any member or family member closely linked to senior government leadership, or any person who through business dealings with senior government leadership derives significant financial benefit from policies or actions that undermine or injure democratic institutions or impede Belarus' transition to democracy; and (2) are in the United States, or in the possession or control of the U.S. government or of any U.S. financial institution, including any branch or office located outside the United States.

States that activities prohibited by the blocking of such property interests should include: (1) payments or transfers of property or anything of economic value by any U.S. person to the government of Belarus or to any entity or person acting on its behalf, or to any member of its senior leadership; (2) the export or reexport to any entity owned, controlled, or operated by the government of Belarus of any goods, technology, or services, either by a U.S. person or involving the use of any air carrier or a vessel documented under U.S. law; and (3) the performance by any U.S. person of any contract, including a contract providing a loan or other financing, in support of an industrial, commercial, or public utility operated, controlled, or owned by the government of Belarus.

Exempts from such prohibitions: (1) assistance under sections 4 or 5 of this Act; or (2) medicine, medical equipment, food, or other humanitarian assistance provided to Belarus in response to a humanitarian crisis.

States that such prohibitions shall be not construed to prohibit financial transactions with any private or nongovernmental organization or business in Belarus.

Subjects violators of such asset and property prohibitions to specified penalties under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

(Sec. 8) Amends the definition of "senior leadership of the government of Belarus."