A Look Ahead — Week of May 20-24

May 17, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the following upcoming Committee events:

Monday, May 20

Subcommittee Hearing: Advocating for American Jacob Ostreicher’s Freedom after Two Years in Bolivian Detention

3:00 p.m. on Monday, May 20 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman

Invited witnesses include:

Mr. Sean Penn
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
J/P Haitian Relief Organization

Chairman Smith on the hearing: “Jacob Ostreicher has suffered long enough. He has been held in Bolivia without formal charges for nearly two years, including 18 months in prison,” said Chairman Smith, who traveled to Bolivia twice in 2012 to assist Ostreicher.“The Bolivian authorities have presented no evidence against him. It is long past time for them to adjudicate the case. Under their own law, he should be free now.”

 

Tuesday, May 21

Hearing: The Call for Economic Liberty in the Arab World

9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 21 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman

Invited witnesses include:

Mr. Hernando de Soto
President
Institute for Liberty and Democracy

The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright
Chairman
Albright Stonebridge Group
Former Secretary of State

Chairman Royce on the hearing: “While much attention has been paid to the political roots of the Arab Spring, far less has been focused on the economic causes of unrest across the Middle East and North Africa.  If we fail to consider the underlying causes of unrest – which can be traced to a lack of legal protections for personal property, endemic corruption, and other constraints to economic growth – no amount of U.S. foreign assistance will help bring stability to the region.

“This hearing will give Members an opportunity to consider the economic causes of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and determine whether U.S. investments, $1.5 billion to date, have any chance of advancing democratic and economic aspirations in the Arab world.”

 

Tuesday, May 21

Joint Subcommittee Hearing: The Growing Crisis in Africa's Sahel Region

2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman

Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman

Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman

Invited witnesses include:

Panel I

The Honorable Donald Y. Yamamoto
Acting Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of African Affairs
U.S. Department of State

The Honorable Nancy E. Lindborg
Assistant Administrator
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance
U.S. Agency for International Development

Panel II

Mr. Rudolph Atallah
Senior Fellow
Michael S. Ansari Africa Center
Atlantic Council

Mima S. Nedelcovych, Ph.D.
Partner
Schaffer Global Group

Mr. Nii Akuetteh
(Former Georgetown University Professor of African Affairs)

Chairman Smith on the hearing: “The coup in Mali and seizure of its northern area last year revealed a larger problem in Africa’s Sahel region. The influx of Islamic radical groups, ethnic unrest and drug smuggling have compounded existing humanitarian issues to create a serious crisis that threatens populations in the region, as well as American and Western interests.”

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen on the hearing: “We have been focused on fighting terrorist groups like al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and the Middle East yet we have looked away from serious threats coming from North Africa and the Sahel, which have become breeding grounds of extremist activity. This became evident in the fallout of the Arab Spring as Gaddafi fell and arms and combatants from Libya spread throughout the region. These extremists roam freely in the mostly lawless region, setting up safe havens of terrorist activity. Some have contributed to the crisis at In Amenas, Mali and the attack in Benghazi, and threaten to further destabilize the region and threaten U.S. interests at home and abroad. This hearing is necessary to call attention to this growing crisis and to call for a more developed strategy to deal with this very serious concern.”

Chairman Poe on the hearing: “The 2012 coup in Mali and overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya demonstrate that America must remain vigilant against the threat of terrorism. With the deaths of four Americans at Benghazi and three Americans, including one of my constituents, at the Algerian gas plant, there is no question that the terrorist groups that operate in the Sahel are a direct threat to our national security interests. We must reexamine U.S. counterterrorism policy in the Sahel and make sure that we are doing all we can to keep Americans safe, no matter where they live.”

 

Wednesday, May 22

Markup: H.R. 850, Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013

10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman

Chairman Royce on the markup: “Iran’s march towards nuclear weapons continues.  A nuclear Tehran is the gravest threat facing the U.S. and our allies.  The U.S. must respond with crippling sanctions and a coherent policy aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.  Only by taking pressure on the regime to the max does this policy have a chance of succeeding.”   

 

Wednesday, May 22

Subcommittee Hearing: The Middle East and North Africa FY 2014 Budget: Priorities and Challenges

2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman

Invited witnesses include:

The Honorable Beth Jones
Acting Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
U.S. Department of State                                    

Ms. Alina L. Romanowski
Acting Assistant Administrator
Bureau for the Middle East
U.S. Agency for International Development

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen on the hearing: “President Obama’s overall 2014 budget will again spend much more than the government takes in, leaving Americans straddled with a nearly $750 billion deficit which would add to the already burdensome national debt. On top of that, his proposal would add nearly a trillion dollars in taxes on hardworking Americans. This path is unsustainable. That is why this hearing will give us the opportunity to give the FY14 International Affairs Budget request the strict scrutiny it deserves. Every dollar must be justified; every dollar must be used effectively as tools to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law across the region, while also promoting the security interests of the U.S.”

  

Thursday, May 23 

Subcommittee Hearing: U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation: An Overview of the Merida Initiative 2008–Present

10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 23 in 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman

Invited witnesses include:

Panel I

The Honorable William R. Brownfield
Assistant Secretary
Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Mr. John D. Feeley
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Ms. Elizabeth Hogan
Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator
Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean
U.S. Agency for International Development

Panel II

Ms. Clare R. Seelke
Specialist in Latin American Affairs
Congressional Research Service

Mr. Steven Dudley
Director
InSight Crime

Francisco E. Gonzalez, Ph.D.
Riordan Roett Senior Associate Professor
Latin AmericanStudies
John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies 

Chairman Salmon on the hearing: “This June marks five years since the development and implementation of the Merida Initiative, a counterdrug and anticrime assistance package for Mexico and Central America.  Next week, the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere will hold the first of a two-part set of hearings to examine the challenges and successes of the past five years of security cooperation with Mexico, specifically.  The Subcommittee looks forward to exercising our oversight obligations by reviewing unobligated funds to ensure US taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently, while exploring ways to improve upon our efforts to combat the scourge of narco-trafficking and transnational gangs in the region.  I look forward to working together with the new Pa Nieto Administration in Mexico to forge a strong path forward to help us secure our mutual border, while defeating the transnational drug traffickers who threaten to disrupt the robust, fruitful and growing commerce between the United States and Mexico.”