Text: H.R.1062 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (02/13/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1062


To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide for the establishment and implementation of a system to verify that persons who receive United States foreign assistance funds are not affiliated with or do not support foreign terrorist organizations or do not otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 13, 2009

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen (for herself, Mr. McCotter, Mr. Burton of Indiana, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Mack, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Poe of Texas, Mr. Inglis, Mr. Bilirakis, Mr. Gallegly, Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. Sam Johnson of Texas, Ms. Foxx, Mrs. Myrick, Mr. Miller of Florida, Mr. Lamborn, Ms. Fallin, and Mrs. Lummis) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


A BILL

To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide for the establishment and implementation of a system to verify that persons who receive United States foreign assistance funds are not affiliated with or do not support foreign terrorist organizations or do not otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “United States Foreign Assistance Partner Vetting System Act of 2009”.

SEC. 2. Findings; sense of Congress; statement of policy.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds that—

(1) current measures to ensure the vetting of recipients and subrecipients to ensure that United States foreign assistance is not distributed to persons who are affiliated with or support foreign terrorist organizations or who otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism are insufficient to secure the interests and citizens of the United States at home and abroad;

(2) it has been reported that the United States Agency for International Development has previously disbursed foreign assistance funds to the Hamas-linked Islamic University in Gaza, where Palestinian police had arrested five Iranians who were allegedly making rockets and explosives;

(3) it has been reported that in 2006 the United States Agency for International Development gave $2,300,000 in aid to Al-Quds University, which is linked to the Hamas terrorist organization and had held celebrations in honor of the man credited with designing and building the first suicide bomb belts;

(4) in 2006, the United States Embassy in Bosnia discovered that a recipient of grant assistance from the United States Agency for International Development in Bosnia had been on a terrorism “watch list” since May 1997;

(5) it has been reported that the United States Agency for International Development distributed aid to a man in Pakistan who was later sentenced to four years in prison for making false statements regarding his ties to a follower of Osama bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda;

(6) it has been reported that the United States Agency for International Development distributed funds to the Islamic American Relief Agency, a domestic charity which was later identified by the Department of the Treasury as a specially designated global terrorist organization that had engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban;

(7) measures to prevent the territory, resources, and financial services of the United States from being used to commit terrorist acts and to protect them from such acts should include a system for the vetting of recipients and subrecipients to ensure that United States foreign assistance is not distributed to persons who are affiliated with or support foreign terrorist organizations or who otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism; and

(8) an inspector general’s audit of USAID West Bank/Gaza, monitoring the implementation of Executive Order 13324 (relating to blocking property and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support acts of international terrorism), revealed that improved vetting procedures, and the consistent use of antiterrorism clauses and certifications would effectively safeguard United States foreign assistance funding distributed through the United States Agency for International Development from reaching persons who are affiliated with or support foreign terrorist organizations or who otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism.

(b) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) combating the financing of acts of international terrorism is essential to safeguarding the interests of the territory of the United States, its citizens, and its interests abroad;

(2) threats of acts of international terrorism committed by foreign terrorists, including the terrorist attacks committed on September 11, 2001, in New York and Pennsylvania and against the Pentagon, acts recognized and condemned in United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1269 (October 19, 1999) and 1368 (September 12, 2001), and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on United States citizens and the United States constitute a threat to United States national security;

(3) the Secretary of State should certify that United States foreign assistance is secured from disbursement to persons who are affiliated with or support foreign terrorist organizations or who otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism; and

(4) securing United States taxpayer funds from disbursement to persons who are affiliated with or support foreign terrorist organizations or who otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism requires—

(A) a system for the vetting of persons and entities that are receiving or administering United States foreign assistance funds to ensure that such persons and entities are not affiliated with or do not support foreign terrorist organizations or do not otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism;

(B) certifications by persons and entities receiving or administering United States foreign assistance funds that such persons and entities will not commit or support acts of international terrorism; and

(C) inclusion of antiterrorism clauses in contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.

(c) Statement of Policy.—It is the policy of the United States to protect the people, property, and territory of the United States against acts of international terrorism through the implementation of a system to verify that persons who receive United States foreign assistance funds do not commit or support acts of international terrorism.

SEC. 3. Vetting system for United States foreign assistance.

Part III of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2351 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new chapter:

“CHAPTER 4VETTING SYSTEM FOR UNITED STATES FOREIGN ASSISTANCE

“SEC. 671. Definitions.

“In this chapter:

“(1) ACT OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.—The term ‘act of international terrorism’ means an act—

“(A) which is violent or dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and

“(B) which appears to be intended—

“(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

“(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

“(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.

“(2) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES.—The term ‘appropriate congressional committees’ means—

“(A) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and

“(B) the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.

“(3) FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.—The term ‘foreign terrorist organization’ means an organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 219(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189(a)).

“(4) PERSON.—The term ‘person’ means any individual, organization, or other private or government entity, and includes a partnership, institution, association, corporation, or other organization, group, or subgroup.

“(5) PERSON WHO RECEIVES UNITED STATES FOREIGN ASSISTANCE FUNDS.—The term ‘person who receives United States foreign assistance funds’ means a person who is a grantee, subgrantee, contractor, subcontractor, awardee or sub-awardee, or any other person, including international organizations, as determined by the Secretary of State, who is receiving United States foreign assistance funds.

“(6) SUPPORT.—The term ‘support’ means, with respect to an act of international terrorism, the provision of material support or resources, including by means of currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, transportation, and other physical assets, but such term does not include the provision of medicine or religious materials.

“(7) UNITED STATES FOREIGN ASSISTANCE.—The term ‘United States foreign assistance’ means—

“(A) assistance authorized under this Act;

“(B) assistance authorized under the FREEDOM Support Act (22 U.S.C. 5801 et seq.), the Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act of 1989 (22 U.S.C. 5401 et seq.), the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 (22 U.S.C. 7501 et seq.), the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (22 U.S.C. 7601 et seq.), the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003 (22 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.); and

“(C) assistance authorized under any other provision of law that is classified under International Affairs Budget Function 150 for bilateral economic assistance administered by the Department of State or the United States Agency for International Development or for assistance provided through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation or the Trade and Development Agency.

“SEC. 672. Prohibition on United States foreign assistance.

“For fiscal year 2010 and each subsequent fiscal year, United States foreign assistance funds may not be provided to persons who are affiliated with or support foreign terrorist organizations or who otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism, as determined pursuant to the vetting system established under section 673.

“SEC. 673. Vetting system to ensure United States foreign assistance is not used for terrorist activities.

“(a) Establishment of system.—Not later than June 30, 2010, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall establish and implement in accordance with the requirements of this section a system to verify that persons who receive United States foreign assistance funds are not affiliated with or do not support foreign terrorist organizations or do not otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism.

“(b) Elements of system.—The system required under subsection (a) shall contain the following elements:

“(1) COLLECTION OF INFORMATION.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Collection of the information described in subparagraph (B) with respect to persons who receive United States foreign assistance, including individuals who are directors, officers, or other officials, or are otherwise employed by such person for the specific project for which the person is applying for funding.

“(B) INFORMATION DESCRIBED.—The information referred to in subparagraph (A) includes the name, date of birth, place of birth, country of origin, Social Security Number or other identification type or number, nationality, residential address, mailing address, phone number, electronic mail (e-mail) address, and organizational affiliations of the personnel.

“(C) EXCEPTION.—The Secretary of State may modify the type and amount of information collected from non-United States persons who receive United States foreign assistance pursuant to this paragraph if collection of all or part of the information described in subparagraph (B) with respect to the personnel of such person is impracticable due to a lack of local administrative resources or facilities resulting in—

“(i) a lack of official records from which identifying information might be collected or verified; or

“(ii) deficiencies in official records from which identifying information might be collected or verified.

“(2) VETTING OF INFORMATION.—Vetting of information collected under paragraph (1) against appropriate United States Government databases to ensure that persons who receive United States foreign assistance—

“(A) are not affiliated with or do not support foreign terrorist organizations; or

“(B) do not otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism.

“(3) CERTIFICATION BY PERSON.—Certification by persons who receive United States foreign assistance funds that such persons are not affiliated with or do not support foreign terrorist organizations or do not otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism and that such persons have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that persons employed by such persons for the specific project for which such persons are applying for funding are not affiliated with or do not support foreign terrorist organizations or do not otherwise commit or support acts of international terrorism.

“(4) ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS.—Administrative provisions to ensure that contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, or any other similar instruments contain provisions specifying the obligations under this chapter of persons who receive United States foreign assistance funds.

“(c) Review by Comptroller General.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Comptroller General of the United States shall carry out an annual review of the use of United States foreign assistance funds to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section. The Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the heads of other United States Government departments and agencies who receive or administer United States foreign assistance funding shall make available to the Comptroller General all relevant documents, records, and other information, as appropriate, for purposes of carrying out the review.

“(2) REPORT.—Not later than June 30, 2011, and June 30, 2012, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the findings of the review carried out under paragraph (1). The report shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex, if appropriate.

“(d) Report.—Not later January 1, 2011, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report describing the status of the implementation of this section, including an assessment of the effectiveness of the vetting procedures under this section and recommendations for improvements and comparisons with best practices. The report required under this subsection shall be submitted in conjunction with the annual budget request submitted by the President to Congress under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code.

“SEC. 674. Information and procedural safeguards relating to denials of United States foreign assistance.

“(a) In general.—The Secretary of State shall ensure that persons who are denied United States foreign assistance funds, as determined pursuant to the vetting system established under section 673, are provided the information and afforded the procedural safeguards described in subsection (b).

“(b) Information and procedural safeguards.—A person referred to in subsection (a) shall be—

“(1) provided as comprehensive and detailed a written explanation of the basis for the determination as the national security interests of the United States and other applicable law permit;

“(2) provided a reasonable opportunity to reply in writing to the determination, and to request a review of the determination by the panel described in paragraph (4) of this subsection;

“(3) provided written notice of and reasons for the results of the review, the identity of the deciding authority, and written notice of the right to appeal to the panel described in paragraph (4) of this subsection;

“(4) provided an opportunity to appeal in writing to a panel, appointed by the Secretary of State, which shall be comprised of at least three members, who are qualified for access to all information upon which this determination is based through appropriate clearance procedures, and the decisions of which shall be in writing; and

“(5) provided an opportunity to appear personally and to present relevant documents, materials, and information before the panel described in paragraph (4) of this subsection.

“(c) No private cause of action.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private cause of action for damages or injunctive relief.

“(d) Regulations; additional review proceedings.—The Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall promulgate regulations to implement this section and, at their sole discretion and as resources and national security considerations permit, may provide additional review proceedings beyond those required under subsection (a).

“(e) Special certification To modify procedural safeguards.—If the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that a procedure set forth in this section cannot be made available in a particular case without damaging the national security interests of the United States by revealing classified information, the procedure shall not be made available in such case.

“(f) Compliance with Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act requirements.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Records in the system of records maintained for purposes of this chapter shall be made available only in accordance with section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the ‘Freedom of Information Act’), and section 552a of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the ‘Privacy Act’). The classification of any record provided by an agency for inclusion in or use by the system of records maintained for purposes of this chapter shall not be modified by reason of its inclusion in or use by such system of records.

“(2) DEFINITIONS.—In this section, the terms ‘agency’, ‘record’, and ‘system of records’ have the meanings given such terms in section 552a(a) of title 5, United States Code.

“SEC. 675. Audit by Comptroller General.

“(a) Audit.—The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct on a biennial basis an audit of the implementation of this chapter.

“(b) Report.—The Comptroller General shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that contains the findings of the audit conducted under subsection (a). The report shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex, if necessary.

“SEC. 676. Authorization of appropriations.

“To carry out this chapter, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums that may be necessary for fiscal year 2010 and each subsequent fiscal year”.