Washington, DC — Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released a summary of the committee’s legislative and oversight accomplishments for the 110th Congress (2007-2008). From the Iraq war to international aid reform, the committee, with bi-partisan support, addressed key issues affecting our country and our standing abroad.
“The legislation that the House Foreign Affairs Committee has considered, and the hearings and briefings we have conducted, have advanced U.S. foreign policy goals while providing an important check on the Executive Branch,” Berman said. “We’ve taken important steps to strengthen our national security and to improve relationships with our partners around the world.”The full committee and its subcommittees held more than 150 hearings and business meetings to consider legislation in the 110TH Congress over the past two years and considered 140 bills and resolutions. Among the measures were:
H.R. 5501, the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act, a five-year extension of the landmark U.S. effort to fight HIV/AIDS around the world. It authorizes $48 billion for prevention, treatment and care where they are most needed, and expands the program substantially to reach millions of people, primarily in Africa. President Bush signed it into law on July 30, 2008;
H.R. 1, which implements the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The final version, enacted into public law, includes the Committee-passed ADVANCE Democracy Act (H.R. 982), which focuses on democracy promotion and human rights abroad. It became public law on August 3, 2007;
H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act, a package of clean and renewable energy initiatives incorporating international portions by the Foreign Affairs Committee to make America a global leader in the fight against climate change, which became public law on December 19, 2007;
H.R. 3890, the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act, will keep Burmese gems from entering U.S. markets via third-party countries, preventing Burma’s military regime from earning hundreds of millions of dollars each year. It also makes Burmese regime leaders, military officers and their families ineligible for visas to the United States. This bill was signed by President Bush on July 29, 2008;
H.R. 5690 eliminated a U.S. government-imposed prohibition on granting a visa to members and former members of the African National Congress. This bill removed from U.S. databases any notation characterizing the ANC and its leaders -- including Nobel Laureate and former South African President Nelson Mandela -- as terrorists, and was signed into law on July 1, 2008;
H.R. 7081, the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act, approved the U.S.-India Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation. The President signed this bill into law on October 8, 2008.
H.R. 1084, the Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act, which authorizes assistance for stabilizing and reconstructing a country or region that is in, or is in transition from, conflict or civil strife. The provisions of this bill were included in the text of S. 3001, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which was signed by the President on October 14, 2008.
H.R. 7311, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, will strongly enhance U.S. leadership in preventing human trafficking, protecting trafficking victims, and prosecuting traffickers world-wide. Both the House and Senate passed this legislation on December 10.
S. 3370, to resolve pending claims against Libya by United States nationals, was enacted into law on August 4, 2008. It paved the way for resolution of claims against Libya based on previous acts of terrorism, and led to further improvement of relations between the United States and Libya, including a visit of the U.S. Secretary of State.
Additionally, the House passed several committee measures to help foster stability in the Middle East and Afghanistan, including:
H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act, which uses peaceful economic sanctions to pressure Iran and revokes the authority of the president to waive sanctions on companies doing business with Iran;
H.R. 885, the International Nuclear Fuel for Peace and Nonproliferation Act, to promote nuclear non-proliferation by creating an international nuclear fuel bank under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency from which all nations could draw nuclear fuel for civilian purposes. Provisions of this bill were included in H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.
H.R. 7112, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2008, would help prevent Iran from developing the technology for nuclear weapons, which is one of the most urgent U.S. national security challenges. The measure would codify and expand export and import bans on goods to and from Iran, freeze assets in the U.S. held by Iranians closely tied to the regime, and make a U.S. parent company subject to sanctions if that company uses a foreign subsidiary to circumvent sanctions. This legislation passed the House of Representatives but was blocked by Senate Republican opposition in September;
H.R. 2446, the Afghan Freedom and Security Support Act of 2007, providing funding for development, economic and security assistance programs in Afghanistan and addresses the growing threat of narcotics;
Some vital statistics from the Foreign Affairs Committee’s work in the 110th Congress:
22 full and subcommittee hearings on Iraq
140 bills and resolutions marked up by the Committee,
26 bills and resolutions enacted into public law
28 bills and resolutions with all House action complete, awaiting Senate action