Text: S.1727 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (06/05/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
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[S. 1727 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1727

 To establish the Partnership Fund for Peace to promote joint economic 
development and finance ventures between Palestinian entrepreneurs and 
companies and those in the United States and Israel to improve economic 
cooperation and people-to-people peacebuilding programs, and to further 
    shared community building, peaceful coexistence, dialogue, and 
           reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                              June 5, 2019

    Mr. Coons (for himself, Mr. Graham, Mr. Kaine, and Mr. Gardner) 
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the 
                     Committee on Foreign Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To establish the Partnership Fund for Peace to promote joint economic 
development and finance ventures between Palestinian entrepreneurs and 
companies and those in the United States and Israel to improve economic 
cooperation and people-to-people peacebuilding programs, and to further 
    shared community building, peaceful coexistence, dialogue, and 
           reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

    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 ``Partnership Fund for Peace Act of 
2019''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Economic development in conflict settings has been 
        shown to support stabilization by empowering entrepreneurs, 
        growing the middle class, and mitigating unemployment.
            (2) In 2018, unemployment in the Palestinian territories 
        was 32.4 percent, reaching 53.7 percent in Gaza and 18 percent 
        in the West Bank. GDP growth in the Palestinian territories 
        declined from 2.7 percent in 2017 to 2 percent in 2018, and it 
        is projected to further decline to between 1.7 and 1.9 percent 
        in 2019 and 2020.
            (3) Increased economic activity and projects to improve the 
        quality and conditions of life for the Palestinians will help 
        create a viable Palestinian economy.
            (4) Although economic development is an important tool for 
        stabilizing conflict-prone settings and establishing 
        connections between communities, economic development by itself 
        will not lead to lasting peace. People-to-people peacebuilding 
        programs further advance reconciliation efforts by promoting 
        greater understanding, mutual trust, and cooperation between 
        communities.
            (5) While the United States and its international allies 
        continue to support diplomatic and political negotiations 
        between the representatives of the parties to the Israeli-
        Palestinian conflict, such efforts require broad popular 
        support among the people on the ground to succeed.
            (6) Achieving sustainable, high-level agreements for 
        lasting peace in the Middle East must come through, and with 
        the support of, the people who live there.
            (7) Economic initiatives and people-to-people peacebuilding 
        programs can help millions of ordinary Israelis and 
        Palestinians affected by the ongoing conflict in the Middle 
        East.

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) building a viable Palestinian economy is central to the 
        effort to preserve the possibility of a 2-state solution;
            (2) strengthening engagement between the Palestinian 
        territories, the United States and Israel in the areas of 
        economic development and people-to-people peacebuilding 
        programs will--
                    (A) increase the bonds of friendship and 
                understanding between the people living in the 
                Palestinian territories and the people of the United 
                States and Israel; and
                    (B) advance the state of research and development 
                in multiple sectors to the benefit of all parties;
            (3) cooperation between the business sectors of the 
        Palestinian territories, the United States and Israel will 
        benefit the Palestinian, American, and Israeli people and 
        should be encouraged; and
            (4) United States and international support for grassroots, 
        people-to-people efforts aimed at shared reconciliation and 
        fostering tolerance can help counter extremist propaganda and 
        the growing issue of incitement.

SEC. 4. PARTNERSHIP FUND FOR PEACE.

    (a) Establishment.--
            (1) In general.--The Administrator of the United States 
        Agency for International Development, in consultation with the 
        Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, shall 
        establish the Partnership Fund for Peace (referred to in this 
        section as the ``Fund''), which--
                    (A) shall be funded with amounts appropriated 
                pursuant to section 5; and
                    (B) managed by the Administrator of the United 
                States Agency for International Development.
            (2) Contributions.--The Administrator of the United States 
        Agency for International Development, in consultation with the 
        Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury, shall 
        seek additional contributions for the Fund from the 
        international community, including countries in the Middle East 
        and Europe.
    (b) Governance.--
            (1) Board of governors.--
                    (A) Appointment.--Except as provided in 
                subparagraph (D), the Fund shall be governed by a Board 
                of Governors, which shall be composed of 5 private, 
                United States citizens or legal permanent residents, 
                who shall be appointed by the Administrator of the 
                United States Agency for International Development, in 
                consultation with the Secretary of State, the Speaker 
                of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of 
                the House of Representatives, the majority leader of 
                the Senate, and the minority leader of the Senate.
                    (B) Qualifications.--
                            (i) General experience.--Members of the 
                        Board of Governors shall be selected from among 
                        people who have demonstrated experience and 
                        expertise in the affairs related to Israel and 
                        the Palestinian territories.
                            (ii) Business experience.--Not fewer than 2 
                        members of the Board of Governors shall have--
                                    (I) demonstrated experience and 
                                expertise in international and 
                                particularly emerging markets 
                                investment activities, such as private 
                                equity or venture capital investment, 
                                banking, finance, strategic business 
                                consulting, or entrepreneurial business 
                                creation; and
                                    (II) backgrounds in priority 
                                business sectors of the Palestinian 
                                economy.
                            (iii) Conflict mitigation experience.--Not 
                        fewer than 2 members of the Board of Governors 
                        shall have demonstrated experience and 
                        expertise in conflict mitigation and people-to-
                        people programs.
                            (iv) USAID official.--The Administrator of 
                        the United States Agency for International 
                        Development (USAID) shall appoint 1 USAID 
                        official as a member of the Board of Governors.
                    (C) Responsibilities.--The Board of Governors 
                shall--
                            (i) determine the amount annually allocated 
                        from the Fund for each Technical Board; and
                            (ii) approve the Technical Boards' 
                        recommendations, as appropriate.
                    (D) International donor seats.--With the approval 
                of the existing Board of Governors, the Administrator 
                may appoint up to 2 additional members to the Board who 
                shall--
                            (i) represent international organizations 
                        or foreign governments that have donated to the 
                        Fund; and
                            (ii) meet the qualifications set forth in 
                        subparagraph (B)(i).
                    (E) Technical boards.--
                            (i) Establishment.--The Board of Governors 
                        shall establish--
                                    (I) a Business and Economic 
                                Development Technical Board; and
                                    (II) a People-to-People Programs 
                                Technical Board.
                            (ii) Appointments.--Members of the 
                        technical boards established pursuant to clause 
                        (i) shall be appointed by the Administrator of 
                        the United States Agency for International 
                        Development.
                            (iii) Investment approval and 
                        recommendations.--The technicalboards 
                        established pursuant to clause (i)--
                                    (I) may approve investments of Fund 
                                assets up to $250,000; and
                                    (II) may recommend investments of 
                                Fund assets greater than $250,000, 
                                which shall be subject to the approval 
                                of the Board of Governors.
                            (iv) Staff.--Each technical board 
                        established pursuant to clause (i) shall 
                        consist of a Secretariat, which shall be 
                        staffed by individuals with demonstrated 
                        experience and expertise relevant to the 
                        technical board on which they sit.
    (c) Purposes.--The purposes of the Fund are--
            (1) to promote the private sector in the Palestinian 
        territories through facilitating and financing between small- 
        and medium-sized Palestinian entrepreneurs and companies and 
        those in the United States, Israel, and other countries to 
        improve the Palestinian private sector through economic 
        cooperation in research and development;
            (2) to improve the quality of life, stimulate the economy, 
        and advance security by creating private sector jobs for 
        Palestinians in the Palestinian territories and furthering the 
        development of a Palestinian middle class; and
            (3) to further shared community building, peaceful 
        coexistence, dialogue, and reconciliation between Israelis and 
        Palestinians by financing people-to-people peacebuilding 
        programs.
    (d) Uses of Funds.--Amounts deposited into the Fund may be used--
            (1) to carry out the purposes set forth in subsection (c); 
        and
            (2) to pay for the administrative expenses of operating the 
        Fund.
    (e) Economic Partnerships.--
            (1) In general.--All economic partnerships requesting 
        support from the Fund shall include a Palestinian entrepreneur 
        or company in the Palestinian territories and an entrepreneur 
        or company from the United States or Israel.
            (2) Tripartite agreements.--If an entrepreneur or company 
        outside of the United States or Israel desires to partner with 
        a Palestinian entrepreneur or company, a tripartite agreement 
        shall be established that includes an entrepreneur or company 
        from the United States or Israel.
            (3) Priority.--The Board of Governors and the technical 
        boards established pursuant to subsection (b)(1)(E)(i) should 
        prioritize partnerships between Israeli and Palestinian 
        entrepreneurs and companies.
            (4) Funding requirement.--During each fiscal year, not less 
        than 25 percent of the funding allocated from the Fund for 
        economic partnerships shall be awarded to partnerships that 
        include--
                    (A) Palestinian entrepreneurs or companies based in 
                the Palestinian territories; and
                    (B) Israeli entrepreneurs or companies based in 
                Israel.
    (f) People-to-People Partnerships.--All people-to-people 
partnerships requesting support from the Fund shall include--
            (1) a Palestinian nonprofit organization, an Israeli 
        nonprofit organization, or an international nonprofit 
        organization that brings Palestinians and Israelis together for 
        shared community building, peaceful coexistence, dialogue, and 
        reconciliation; or
            (2) nonprofit organizations that further shared community 
        building, peaceful coexistence, dialogue, and reconciliation 
        between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel.
    (g) Alternative Funding Streams.--The Board of Governors should 
explore initiatives to promote long-term financial sustainability of 
the Fund through revenue accrued by successful ventures.
    (h) Limitations, Vetting, and Oversight.--
            (1) Limitations.--None of the funds made available under 
        this Act may be made available for--
                    (A) financial assistance to national governments;
                    (B) assistance for any individual or group that the 
                Administrator of the United States Agency for 
                International Development, in consultation with the 
                heads of other relevant Federal agencies, determines to 
                be--
                            (i) involved in, or advocating, terrorist 
                        activity; or
                            (ii) a member of a foreign terrorist 
                        organization (as designated pursuant to section 
                        219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
                        U.S.C. 1189)); or
                    (C) assistance for the Palestinian Authority, 
                Hamas, or the Palestine Liberation Organization.
            (2) Applicable laws.--Assistance from the Fund shall be 
        subject to all relevant laws relating to United States 
        Government assistance, including to the Palestinians.
            (3) Compliance with mission directives.--All expenditures 
        from the Fund shall follow the mission directives applicable to 
        the West Bank and Gaza that have been issued by United States 
        Agency for International Development Mission Director or 
        Contracting Officer.
            (4) USAID inspector general.--All operations and 
        expenditures of the Fund shall be subject to audits, 
        investigations, and inspections conducted by the Office of the 
        Inspector General at the United States Agency for International 
        Development.
            (5) GAO.--All operations and expenditures of the Fund shall 
        be subject to assessment by the Government Accountability 
        Office.
    (i) Annual Report.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the end of 
        the fiscal year during which the Fund is established and 
        annually thereafter, the Administrator of the United States 
        Agency for International Development shall submit a written 
        report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the 
        Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, the Committee on 
        Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the 
        Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives 
        that describes the extent to which the Fund, and United States 
        contributions to the Fund, have contributed--
                    (A) to promoting and supporting joint economic 
                development;
                    (B) to integrating the Palestinian economy into the 
                international business system; and
                    (C) to furthering contact, cooperation, dialogue, 
                and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
            (2) Matters to be included.--Each report under paragraph 
        (1) shall include--
                    (A) information regarding--
                            (i) contributions pledged to, contributions 
                        (including donations from the private sector) 
                        received by, and projects funded by the Fund; 
                        and
                            (ii) the mechanisms established for 
                        transparency and accountability in the grant 
                        making and investment process;
                    (B) a description of the Fund's operations, 
                activities, budget, receipts, and expenditures for the 
                preceding 12-month period, including an audited report 
                of the Fund's finances, including statements of 
                financial position, operations, and cash flows, in 
                accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
                standards prescribed by the Comptroller General of the 
                United States;
                    (C) insights gleaned from improvements to the 
                efficacy of people-to-people relationships;
                    (D) a description of potential strategies for 
                achieving sustainability for civic institutions that 
                the Fund creates or supports, including novel financing 
                mechanisms; and
                    (E) a description of the process for vetting and 
                oversight of entities eligible for support from the 
                Fund to ensure compliance with subsection (h).

SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--There is authorized to be appropriated $50,000,000 
for each of the first 5 fiscal years beginning after the date of the 
enactment of this Act.
    (b) Availability.--Amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (a) 
shall be used for United States contributions to the Partnership Fund 
for Peace established pursuant to section 4(a).
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