WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today inserted the following remarks into the Congressional record following the full Committee markup of the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act of 2017 (H.R.2219); the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act (H.R.2646); the Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act of 2017 (H.R.1997); and the War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act (H.R. 3851):
“Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today’s markup. This is a great example of what you and I have both tried to do along with members of this Committee: work in a bipartisan way to pass legislation that supports America’s interests around the world and enhances our national security.
“So, I thank you again for being a good partner in that effort and for helping us close out the year on a positive note.
“We’ve got four good, bipartisan measures before us today, and I want to thank all our members for their hard work.
“I’ll start by voicing my support for Chairman Royce’s legislation, the End Banking for Human Traffickers Act of 2017.
“Human trafficking—the term we use for modern-day slavery—is a multi-billion-dollar industry and its perpetrators rely on banking and financial systems to sustain their illicit operations. This bill bolsters our efforts to target and prosecute those who reap financial reward from this horrific practice.
“It also requires reporting and recommendations from the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to strengthen our existing anti-money laundering programs so we can better target human traffickers.
“This is a good bill that will give us more tools for disrupting this criminal practice, and I urge all our members to support it.
“I am also glad to be an original cosponsor of the U.S.-Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act, introduced by Mr. Boyle of Pennsylvania.
“Mr. Chairman, it’s critical that we keep up the pressure on Russia for its interference in our elections and aggression in Ukraine. Putin has undermined democracy in both our countries and even targeted Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. I think we’re all waiting for the Administration to fully implement sanctions for Russia’s cyberattack on our country.
“This bill calls upon the United States to continue its commitment to the U.S.-Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership and urges the Secretary of State to provide Ukraine with the assistance it needs to protect against cyberattacks carried out by Putin and his operatives.
“I’d also like to push our own Administration to maintain—and even elevate—the State Department’s Office of Cyber Issues. Now more than ever we need a high-ranking cyber diplomat to help shape international cyber norms, ramp up coordination with our partners like Ukraine to stiffen cyber defenses, and coordinate responses to future malicious activity.
“I’d now like to turn to the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Extension Act offered by two of our colleagues from Florida, Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Ted Deutch.
“The Kingdom of Jordan has been a vital partner and ally in advancing our security goals in the Middle East, including by helping to lead the fight against ISIS and playing an important role in working toward Israeli-Palestinian peace. In 2015, the U.S. and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding that pledges $1 billion in U.S. assistance per year through 2017.
“Working side by side, the U.S. and Jordan work to fight terrorism and extremism, address urgent humanitarian needs, including refugees inside Jordan and internally displaced persons on the Jordanian-Syrian border, and develop Jordan’s economy to help build opportunities for the next generation.
“Put simply, our ties with Jordan continue to grow more and more important, and this bill will help to further deepen that cooperation. This legislation encourages a new memorandum of understanding on assistance to Jordan, establishes the Jordan enterprise fund to boost private sector investment and fast tracks security assistance.
“Lastly, I’d like to turn to legislation to improve the War Crimes Rewards Program, a proven tool in America’s efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Through rewards paid under this program, we have helped find fugitives from the former Yugoslavia to Rwanda. But unfortunately, war criminals continue to evade arrest and prosecution around the world.
“That’s why I joined with Rep. Virginia Foxx as a lead cosponsor of her bill, the War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act. This bill clarifies that rewards can be paid for information leading to arrests and convictions no matter if they take place under domestic or international law.
“Despite mixed messages from this Administration, America must stand against human rights abusers and war criminals abroad, and this legislation reaffirms that.
“Once again, I thank all our Members for their efforts on these pieces of legislation and the Chairman for his leadership. I yield back.”
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