Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), passed eight bipartisan measures including legislation to promote religious freedom in Turkey, to target financial sanctions against Hezbollah, and to urge the resumption of adoptions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, will be available HERE.
The Committee passed, as amended, H.R. 4347, the Turkey Christian Churches Accountability Act, introduced by Chairman Royce, which requires an annual report from the State Department on the status of stolen, confiscated or unreturned Christian properties in territories controlled by Turkey.
On the passage of H.R. 4347 Chairman Royce said:  “I have long been concerned that Christian heritage sites in Turkey have been deteriorating and disappearing in the face of hostile government policies.  Despite optimistic claims by Turkish leaders, a majority of religious properties remain unreturned.  There is even legislation before the Turkish Parliament to convert the landmark Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum to a mosque.  The U.S. must hold Turkish leaders to their promises.  By passing this legislation, the U.S. sends a message to Turkey that it must return church properties to their rightful owners, while providing an objective measure of their progress each year.”
The Committee passed, as amended, H.R. 4411, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014, introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows (R- NC), which would prevent Hezbollah and associated entities from gaining access to international financial institutions.
On the passage of H.R. 4411 Chairman Royce said:  “The threat posed by Hezbollah’s global operations has exploded.  Underpinning that development is a financing and logistical network.  In 2011, we saw the tip of the iceberg when a massive Hezbollah drug and money laundering operation was uncovered.  To deter dealings with Hezbollah, the bill targets those financial institutions that knowingly do business with what has been called the “A-team” of terrorists.”
The Committee passed, as amended, H. Res. 588, introduced by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), which requests that the Democratic Republic of the Congo government resume issuing exit permits for all adopted children and expedite the processing of those adoptions which involve medically fragile children.
On the passage of H. Res. 588 Chairman Royce said:  “Over 900 American cases are caught up in this Congo adoption limbo.  This situation is inhumane and unsustainable.  I witnessed first-hand the power of providing a child with a loving home, when my Chief of Staff adopted internationally.  These children must be allowed to make their way to the homes that so desperately want to care for them.  Passage of this resolution today sends a strong signal to Congo that we need to unite these affected families.”
The Committee also passed, as amended:
H.R. 2283, Human Trafficking Prioritization Act, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, which seeks to elevate the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a Bureau within the State Department to better prioritize the fight against human trafficking without increasing the size of the Federal Government;
H.R. 4640, Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2014, introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY),  the Committee’s Ranking Member, which would establish the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission;
H.R. 4653, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2014, introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), which reauthorizes the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom;
H. Res. 435, introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), which calls on the government of Iran to strengthen its cooperation in the case of Robert Levinson, one of the longest held United States civilians in our Nation's history;
H. Res. 562, introduced by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), which reaffirms U.S. support for the Republic of Moldova’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;
A summary of the Committee action, including adopted amendments, will be available HERE.