On 6/22/22, the House Appropriations Committee’s State and Foreign Operations (aka, SFOPS) Subcommittee marked up and adopted the Subcommittee’s draft of the FY23 SFOPS Appropriations bill. For source documents/video, see:
- Video of SFOPS Subcommittee markup
- FY23 SFOPS Approps bill – draft adopted by SFOPS subcommittee.
- Subcommittee’s Report accompanying the bill (laying out details of the Subcommittee’s intent), released on 6/28/22.
- Press releases on completion of the SFOPS subcommittee markup/bill
- Press release on publication of the Report.
On 6/29/22, the full House Appropriations Committee marked up and adopted the FY23 SFOPS bill. For source documents/video, see:
- Video of full Committee markup.
- Managers’ Amendment adopted by the Committee (including Report language on Lowey Fund)
- Appropriations Committee press release on Committee completing its work on the bill.
- Amendments: Among the amendments considered by the committee were 3 amendments related to Israel/Palestine and one related to Iran. These were:
- Rep. Reschenthaler (R-PA) – “This amendment prohibits the use of funds from supporting the UN International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel.” The amendment was adopted by voice vote [following some truly epic pro-Israel/anti-UN grandstanding by Reschenthaler (R-PA), Rogers (R-KY), Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Meng (D-NY) and DeLauro (D-CT)]. Also see: House Appropriations seeks to cut off U.S. funding to U.N. Israel investigation (Jewish Insider 6/30/22); Reschenthaler press release celebrating passage of his amendment
- Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL) – “This amendment prohibits the use of funds to implement an agreement with Iran relating to the nuclear program unless such agreement has been submitted to Congress for review. The amendment also prohibits the use of funds to revoke the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.” The amendment was adopted by voice vote following the adoption of the second degree amendment by Rep. Wasserman Schultz. Also see Diaz-Balart (R-FL-25) Tweet – “Today, in Appropriations Full Committee Markup, I offered an amendment for the SFOPS bill, opposing the #IranDeal and supporting keeping Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Diaz-Balart Presents Amendment on Iran Deal During SFOPS Full Committee Markup… | youtube.com”
- An amendment offered by Diaz-Balart (R-FL) seeking to move required reports related to UNRWA & the UN Human Rights Council back into the bill text (after the Subcommittee moved them to the Report). The amendment was DEFEATED by a party-line roll-call vote of 23-30.
- An amendment offered by Diaz-Balart (R-FL) seeking to bar funds from being used to upgrade the US Embassy’s Palestinian Affairs Unit into a U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs. The amendment was DEFEATED by a (party-line) Voice Vote.
As always, the SFOPS bill includes funding for Israel, the West Bank/Gaza, Egypt, and the rest of the Middle East. It also includes far-reaching limitations/conditions/oversight/vetting requirements/reporting requirements on the Palestinians, as well as some conditions/reporting related to other aid programs. See this report for all Middle East-related provisions of the bill — as approved by the SFOPS Subcommittee and then amended/approved by the full House Appropriations committee.
The bill now heads to the House floor for amendments/debate.
Full Middle East-Related Details of the FY23 SFOPS Approps Bill
As Adopted by the House Appropriations Committee
Note 1: This analysis did NOT include the two amendments adopted in Committee, detailed above
Note 2: Text in black relates to BILL TEXT. Text in red relates to the REPORT accompanying the bill.
The introductory section of the Report notes:
- REGIONS – Middle East and North Africa.—The Committee believes strongly that the United States must continue to pursue a two-state solution in the Middle East. The Committee affirms strong support for the normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states, including the Abraham Accords, and appreciates the Secretary of State’s commitment to strengthening and expanding upon such agreements. The Committee applauds the advances that have been created in the areas of economic development, investment, scientific collaboration, security cooperation, religious tolerance, cultural exchanges, and people-to-people programming through such agreements. Participants in the Abraham Accords, as well as Egypt and Jordan, should expand on the success of normalization by helping to defuse tensions on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians, promote cooperation, rebuild opportunities for dialogue and direct engagement, and work to include the Palestinians in such agreements, all of which would also help encourage other countries to join in normalizing relations with Israel. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to report to the Committee on Appropriations, on an annual basis, on the United States strategy to strengthen, expand, and promote normalization agreements with Israel, including opportunities created by such agreements to advance the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, consistent with Sections 105 and 106 of division Z of Public Law 117–103.
- SECURITY PROGRAMS – The Committee recognizes that security programs complement development programs, and both are vital in advancing the national security interests of the United States. The Committee continues support for security programs, including those that promote core values of governance through combating corruption, supporting judicial reform, and strengthening rule of law. Further, the Committee remains committed to the security of our allies and partners and continues support for Israel, Jordan, Mexico, and Colombia as well as Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic allies who are on the front lines in opposition to renewed Russian aggression.
TITLE I — DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY
United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) [formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors], international broadcasting operations: Perennial bill language providing $852,300,000 “to carry out international communication activities, and to make and supervise grants for radio, Internet, and television broadcasting to the Middle East”.
Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund: Perennial bill provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund, as authorized by section 633 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2004 (22 U.S.C. 2078), the total amount of the interest and earnings accruing to such Fund on or before September 30, 2023, to remain available until expended.”
Israeli Arab Scholarship Program: Perennial bill provision stating: “For necessary expenses of the Israeli Arab Scholarship Program, as authorized by section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (22 U.S.C. 2452 note), all interest and earnings accruing to the Israeli Arab Scholarship Fund on or before September 30, 2023, to remain available until expended.”
Diplomatic Programs – The funding table for “Diplomatic Programs” in the Report includes: $500,000 for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs’ Special Envoy for Yemen; $10,375,000 for the “Office of Terrorism Financing and Economic Sanctions Policy”; and $1,500,000 for the “Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism.” The text accompanying that table notes:
- “Combating Anti-Semitism. —The Committee recognizes the important work of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism and recommends not less than $1,500,000 for the Office, as authorized by the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–332).”
- “Global Engagement Center (GEC).—The Committee recommendation includes funding at not less than the request for the GEC. The Committee remains concerned about foreign propaganda, disinformation, the malicious use of social media, and other hybrid threats directed at the United States and our allies and partners, especially as carried out by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, Iran, and extremist groups. The Committee directs the GEC to expand, as appropriate, the use of technologies and techniques to counter these threats…
- “Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit (RESIU).—The recommendation includes $2,000,000 to support the expansion of RESIU to a Department-wide office, and to continue and expand activities to address racial and ethnic equality and inclusion across regional bureaus of the Department. Further, RESIU shall coordinate and implement the Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and U.S.-European Union action plans that combat anti-Semitism, racism, and intolerance…”
TITLE III — BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE
Development Assistance (DA): In the Report accompanying the bill, the table laying out Development Assistance (DA) allocations includes $10 million for “Refugee Scholarships Program in Lebanon”. The accompanying text notes: “The Committee recommendation includes funds to continue the university scholarship pilot program for refugees in Lebanon. Such funds are in addition to funds made available for assistance for Lebanon under Economic Support Fund. The USAID Administrator is directed to consult with the Committees on Appropriations on an ongoing basis on how the program will be administered consistent with the Lebanon scholarship program at not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet the standards required for American accreditation, and other matters related to implementation..”
Economic Support Fund (ESF): In the Report accompanying the bill, the table laying out Economic Support Fund (ESF) allocations includes for the Middle East and North Africa:
- Iraq: $150 million (of which $10 million is for scholarships, $25 million is for “Democracy”, and $2.5 million is for “Justice Sector Assistance”)
- Lebanon: $14 million (all for scholarships)
- Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI): $27.2 million (of which $20 million is for scholarships)
- Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC): $8 million
- Near East Regional Democracy: $55 million
- Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act: $50 million
The Report further notes:
- Lebanon scholarships.—The Committee recommendation includes funds for scholarships for Lebanese students with high financial need to attend not-for-profit educational institutions in Lebanon that meet standards comparable to those required for American accreditation. Students in Lebanon should be eligible for scholarships if they demonstrate financial need, have strong academic records, and show potential to contribute to the long-term political, economic, and social development of Lebanon. The Committee directs that these funds be awarded through an open and competitive process.
- Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).—The Committee supports continued funding for the MEPI scholarship program. Scholarships should be made available for institutions that meet standards comparable to those required for American accreditation and should be awarded in a manner consistent with prior fiscal years, including on an open and competitive basis.
- Middle East Partnership Initiative Availability and Consultation Requirement.—The Committee recommends funds under title III of the Act, which shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara. Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, and prior to the obligation of such funds, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the USAID Administrator, shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on the proposed uses of such funds.
- Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC).—The Committee supports increased funding for the MERC program to facilitate research collaboration in the Middle East, including between Israelis and Palestinians.
- USAID-Israel international development cooperation.—The Committee is supportive of cooperative projects, and the recommendation includes $2,000,000 to support local solutions to address sustainability challenges relating to water resources, agriculture, and energy storage
Migration & Refugee Assistance (MRA): The bill stipulates that, “$5,000,000 shall be made available for refugees resettling in Israel.” [This is a perennial earmark that started out years ago – as a much larger number – when large numbers of Jews were coming to Israel from the former Soviet Union. The Report accompanying the bill notes: “Resettlement in Israel.—The Committee recommendation includes funds for refugees from the former Soviet Union, Ukraine and other Eastern European states, and other refugees resettling in Israel, which is the same as the request.”
TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE): In the Report accompanying the bill, the table laying out INCLE allocations includes $40 million for the West Bank and Gaza.
Non-proliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR): This section of the bill includes a perennial stipulation that “…funds appropriated under this heading may be made available for the IAEA unless the Secretary of State determines that Israel is being denied its right to participate in the activities of that Agency.” The Report notes: “The Committee continues to support the Department of State’s demining activities in Colombia, Syria, the West Bank, among other areas.”It also states: “International cooperation in science.—The Committee recommendation includes funds for assistance to international scientific and technological facilities in the Middle East region that foster mutual understanding and tolerance through international cooperation in science. Funding is intended to promote scientific excellence in the Middle East region and prevent the loss of scientific expertise that is holding back science education and research in the region.”
Peacekeeping Operations (PKO): The bill stipulates that, “…not less than $25,000,000 shall be made available for a United States contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.” The Report accompanying the bill states: “The Committee recommendation includes $25,000,000 for the Multinational Force and Observers Mission (MFO) in the Sinai, including $1,000,000 above the request for force protection requirements. The Committee notes the invaluable service provided by the MFO in preserving stability in a very volatile part of the world with relatively few personnel and a small budget. United States leadership and participation in the MFO is important to the national security interests of the United States.”
Foreign Military Financing (FMF): See the bill text in Section 7041, below, for details of FMF provisions for all Near East countries.”
In addition, the Report accompanying the bill states, under FMF:
- Lebanon.—The Committee recommendation includes language in section 7041(f) of this Act requiring that certain conditions be met prior to the obligation of funds under this heading for assistance for Lebanon. The Committee intends that assistance provided to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) not be used against Israel, and such assistance will not affect Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. The Committee notes that section 7041(f) prohibits funds for the Lebanese Internal Security Forces or the LAF if either organization is controlled by a foreign terrorist organization and the Committee directs the Secretary of State to regularly consult with the Committee regarding the rigorous implementation of this provision and on the activities of the LAF and assistance provided by the United States. The Committee includes further language under Reports in this heading.”
- Reports Lebanon.—Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit to the Committees on Appropriations an updated report, in classified form if necessary, on the performance of the LAF, including an assessment of the operational capabilities of such forces and how the training, curriculum, and equipment provided by the United States contributes to those capabilities.
TITLE V – MULTILATERAL ASSISTANCE
The funding table in the Report entitled “INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND PROGRAMS” includes $100 million for UNRWA. The text accompanying the table notes:
UNRWA.—In addition to amounts made available for UNRWA under Migration and Refugee Assistance, the Committee recommends $100,000,000 under this heading to be made available to maintain the provision of food assistance to vulnerable Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in response to rising food and transport costs.
TITLE VII – GENERAL PROVISIONS
Section 7007: Prohibition against direct funding for certain countries
This is perennial bill language banning aid to Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria, extending to loans, credits, insurance, and guarantees of the Export-Import Bank or its agents.
Section 7008: Coups d’état
This perennial bill provision (which caused Congress and the Obama Administration a headache over Egypt funding) barring US funding “shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état or decree or, after the date of enactment of this Act, a coup d’état or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.” It also states that “assistance may be resumed to such government if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the appropriate congressional committees that subsequent to the termination of assistance a democratically elected government has taken office” and that the prohibition in this section “shall not apply to assistance to promote democratic elections or public participation in democratic processes.”
Section 7013: Prohibition on taxation of assistance
This is a perennial bill provision barring taxation of U.S. assistance. While this provision appears generic, the only recipient explicitly identified is the West Bank and Gaza [a requirement that is today irrelevant, since between Trump Administration policy and the Taylor Force Act funding has been cut off]. This singling out of the Palestinians reflects the genesis of the provision: long-past allegations that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was taxing U.S. assistance provided to NGOs (recall that under existing law direct aid to the PA is prohibited), and thereby indirectly benefiting from US assistance designed specifically to bypass the PA.
Section 7015: Notification Requirements
Part (f) of this provision states that no funds appropriated under titles III through VI of this Act (pretty much all funds in the bill) may be obligated or expended for assistance to a laundry list of countries, “except as provided through regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.” From the Middle East, the list includes (this year): Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Section 7021: Prohibition on assistance to governments supporting international terrorism
Perennial bill provision prohibiting funding to any country “which provides lethal military equipment to a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined supports international terrorism…” and prohibits bilateral assistance to any country that supports international terrorism, gives sanctuary to terrorist, or is controlled by a terrorist organization. The section includes national security waivers for both restrictions.
Section 7032: Democracy Programs
Part (a) of this section of the bill earmarks not less than $2,800,000,000 for democracy programs, (as defined later in this provision). Part (e) states that funding and programs under this section “shall not be subject to the prior approval by the government of any foreign country.” Part (i) states that “of the funds appropriated by this Act under the headings ‘Economic Support Fund’ and ‘Democracy Fund’, not less than $40,000,000 shall be made available to support and protect human rights defenders.” The Report accompanying the bill states: “For the purposes of subsection (i), ‘human rights defenders’ is defined as an individual or entity that acts to address any human right on behalf of individuals or groups and seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights. Such human rights defenders may include civil society activists, journalists, government officials, civil servants, and members of the private sector.”
Section 7034: Special Provisions
Part (k)(11) stipulates extends a 2003 loan guarantee program for Israel: “Chapter 5 of title I of the Emergency Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2003 (Public Law 108–11; 117 Stat. 576) is amended under the heading ‘Loan Guarantees to Israel’— (A) in the matter preceding the first proviso, by striking ‘September 30, 2023’ and inserting ‘September 30, 2028’; and (B) in the second proviso, by striking ‘September 30, 2023’ and inserting ‘September 30, 2028’”
Part (n)(1) of this section of the bill allows funding to be made available “for the costs, as defined in section 502 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, of loan guarantees for Egypt, Jordan, Small Island Developing States, Tunisia, and Ukraine, which are authorized to be provided…” It also states that “amounts made available under this paragraph for the costs of such guarantees shall not be considered assistance for the purposes of provisions of law limiting assistance to a country.”
Section 7035: Law Enforcement and Security
Part (a)(2) provides funding for counterterrorism partnerships for programs “in areas liberated from, under the influence of, or adversely affected by, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other terrorist organizations,” including the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
Part (a)(4) stipulates that the Secretary of State “shall offer training related to the requirements of international humanitarian law as a component of any package of lethal assistance funded by this Act with funds appropriated under the headings ‘Peace-keeping Operations’ and ‘Foreign Military Financing Program’: Provided, That the requirement of this paragraph shall not apply to a country that is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is a major non-NATO ally designated by section 517(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, or is complying with international humanitarian law…”
Part (b)(3) of this section of the bill is a perennial provision providing for financing of commercial leasing of defense articles to Israel, Egypt, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and major non-NATO allies.
Part (c)(2) lays out limitations related to landmines and cluster munitions.
Part (c)(3) states that “If the Secretary of State has information that a unit of a foreign security force uses excessive force to repress peaceful expression or assembly concerning corruption, harm to the environment or human health, or the fairness of electoral processes, or in countries that are undemocratic or undergoing democratic transition, the Secretary shall promptly determine if such information is credible: Provided, That if the information is determined to be credible, funds appropriated by this Act should not be used for tear gas, small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or other items for crowd control purposes for such unit.”
Section 7037: Palestinian statehood
Perennial bill provision barring (with extensive language) assistance to a Palestinian state that does not meet a series of conditions (includes perennial Presidential waiver authority).
Section 7038: Prohibition on Assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corp
Perennial language (dating back many years) barring any U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
Section 7039: Assistance for the West Bank and Gaza
Perennial section laying out far-reaching restrictions and conditions, as well as vetting, oversight and audit requirements, for U.S. assistance programs (carried out through non-governmental organizations) in the West Bank and Gaza. The section provides up to $1.3 million to be spent on audits, investigations “and other activities in furtherance of the requirements of this subsection”.
Section 7040: Limitation on Assistance for the Palestinian Authority
Perennial bill language that in Part (a) bans U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and in Part (b) grants the President authority to waive that ban if doing so is “important to the national security interest of the United States.” In addition, to use this waiver the President must certify to Congress (among other things) that the PA “is acting to counter incitement of violence against Israelis and is supporting activities aimed at promoting peace, coexistence, and security cooperation with Israel..”
The section also includes a perennial subsection (f) entitled “Prohibition to Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization” (lumping together a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization with the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people that is NOT on the list of U.S.-designated FTO since that list was first published in 1997). This subsection bars funding to the PLO and for salaries of PA personnel in Gaza or for Hamas or any entity “effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.” [NOTE: This formulation is designed to make it difficult for the U.S. engage any kind of Palestinian power-sharing government that results from a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, or some other arrangements that leads to a national unity government or a mutually-agreed technocratic government].
The section includes language of past bills stipulating that the prohibition does not apply if the President “certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government, including all of its ministers or such equivalent, has publicly accepted and is complying with the principles contained in section 620K(b)(1) (A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended.” It also includes the proviso that, “the President may exercise the authority in section 620K(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as added by the Palestine Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-446) with respect to this subsection.”
As a reminder: Section 620K(b)(1)(A) and (B) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, reads as follows:
(b) Certification.–A certification described in subsection (a) is a certification transmitted by the President to Congress that contains a determination of the President that–
(1) no ministry, agency, or instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority is effectively controlled by Hamas, unless the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority has–
(A) publicly acknowledged the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist; and
(B) committed itself and is adhering to all previous agreements and understandings with the United States Government, with the Government of Israel, and with the international community, including agreements and understandings pursuant to the Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (commonly referred to as the `Roadmap’).
And 620K(e) reads as follows:
(e) National Security Waiver.–
(1) In general.–Subject to paragraph (2), the President may waive subsection (a) with respect to-
(A) the administrative and personal security costs of the Office of the President of the Palestinian Authority;
(B) the activities of the President of the Palestinian Authority to fulfill his or her duties as President, including to maintain control of the management and security of border crossings, to foster the Middle East peace process, and to promote democracy and the rule of law; and
(C) assistance for the judiciary branch of the Palestinian Authority and other entities.
(2) Certification.–The President may only exercise the waiver authority under paragraph (1) after–
(A) consulting with, and submitting a written policy justification to, the appropriate congressional committees; and
(B) certifying to the appropriate congressional committees that–
(i) it is in the national security interest of the United States to provide assistance otherwise prohibited under subsection (a); and
(ii) the individual or entity for which assistance is proposed to be provided is not a member of, or effectively controlled by (as the case may be), Hamas or any other foreign terrorist organization.
(3) Report.—Not later than 10 days after exercising the waiver authority under paragraph (1), the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report describing how the funds provided pursuant to such waiver will be spent and detailing the accounting procedures that are in place to ensure proper oversight and accountability.
(4) Treatment of certification as notification of program change.–For purposes of this subsection, the certification required under paragraph (2)(B) shall be deemed to be a notification under section 634A and shall be considered in accordance with the procedures applicable to notifications submitted pursuant to that section.
Section 7041 – Middle East and North Africa
NOTE: The Report accompanying the bill includes language regarding the Arab League Boycott of Israel – language that (a) in every prior year in memory was included in the bill text (as opposed to the Report), and (b) was “modified from the prior year” by the Committee. That Report language (a) continues the Committee’s practice in recent years of hijacking this section into an anti-BDS (including settlement boycotts) measure, (b) continues the more recent practice of leveraging it as a pro-Abraham Accords/normalization provision; and (c) includes what has been an ongoing effort to promote a US anti-BDS (including anti-differentiation between Israel and settlements) screen with respect to USAID grantees. That text reads:
- Arab League Boycott of Israel.—It is the sense of the Congress that—(1) the Arab League boycott of Israel, and the secondary boycott of American firms that have commercial ties with Israel, remain an impediment to trade and investment in the Middle East and should be terminated forthwith, as should the Central Office for the Boycott of Israel; (2) several Arab states and Israel have made important progress toward peace through treaties, the Abraham Accords, and normalization agreements, opening a path toward a more stable and prosperous Middle East; (3) all Arab League states should join Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan in establishing and normalizing relations with Israel, in addition to promoting peace negotiations, economic cooperation, and security cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians; (4) the President and the Secretary of State should continue to vigorously oppose the Arab League boycott of Israel and; (5) the President should support broadening and deepening participation in the Abraham Accords, or other normalization agreements, and report annually to the appropriate congressional committees on the United States Government’s strategy and steps being taken by the United States to encourage additional Arab League and other Muslim-majority states to normalize relations with Israel, in addition to advancing the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
- Annual report to Congress.—The Committee remains concerned about international efforts to stigmatize and isolate Israel through the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The Committee directs, as part of the report required in the previous paragraph, that the President add information about the BDS campaign, covering companies, international organizations, countries, and other organizations, including state investment vehicles, that are involved in promoting the movement, as well as specific steps the Department of State has taken and expects to take to discourage or end politically-motivated efforts to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel or Israeli entities. The Committee further directs the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to strengthen policies and procedures to ensure organizations supported through funding are not participants in such efforts.”
Section 7041 – Bahrain
While the bill text does not in any way address Bahrain, the Report accompanying the bill states:
- “The Committee remains concerned with ongoing reports of the widespread violations of human rights, including the use of arbitrary detention, harsh prison conditions, restrictions on political participation, and severe limitations on freedom of expression, the press, and assembly. The Committee urges the Department of State to prioritize working with the Government of Bahrain to release political prisoners, provide detainees with due process of law, and ensure that parliamentary elections are free, fair, and include the participation of political parties and independent media outlets..”
- “Not later than 60 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations detailing U.S. government actions taken to ensure that parliamentary elections in Bahrain are conducted according to international standards and respect the free will of the people of Bahrain.”
Section 7041(a) – Egypt
The Report accompanying the bill includes a table laying out assistance for Egypt as follows: ESF – $125 million, NADR – $3.5 million, IMET – $1.8 million, and FMF – $1.3 billion.
Overall conditions on aid: This section of the bill stipulates that funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for Egypt “may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law restricting assistance for Egypt, except for section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and may only be made available for assistance for the Government of Egypt if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is—(A) sustaining the strategic relationship with the United States; and (B) meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.”
Reminder: Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 states that “No assistance shall be furnished under this Act or the Arms Export Control Act to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.” It adds that this prohibition “shall not apply if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, and the Committees on Appropriations that the government of such country is taking effective steps to bring the responsible members of the security forces unit to justice.”
ESF: The bill earmarks for Egypt “not less than” $125 million in ESF, of which up to $40 million “shall be made available for higher education programs,” including $15 million for scholarships; provided that such funds “shall be made available for democracy programs, and for development programs in the Sinai”.
FMF & Withholding:
- The bill states that up to $1.3 billion in FMF “should” remain available for assistance for Egypt until September 30, 2024 (and stipulates that these funds may be transferred to the interest-bearing account – a benefit granted to Egypt years ago by Congress to try to create some symmetry with Israel’s early disbursal provision).
- The bill stipulates that $170 million of such funds “shall be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is taking sustained and effective steps to: (i) strengthen the rule of law, democratic institutions, and human rights in Egypt, including to protect religious minorities and the rights of women, which are in addition to steps taken during the previous calendar year for such purposes; (ii) implement reforms that protect freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, including the ability of civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and the media to function without interference; (iii) hold Egyptian security forces accountable, including officers credibly alleged to have violated human rights; (iv) investigate and prosecute cases of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances; and (v) provide regular access for United States officials to monitor such assistance in areas where the assistance is used.” The bill provides the Secretary of State authority to waive the above mentioned withholding if he determines that doing so is “important to the national security interest of the United States and submits a report to such Committees containing a detailed justification for the use of such waiver and the reasons why any of the requirements of sub-paragraph (A) cannot be met.”
- The bill also requires that in addition to any funds withheld pursuant to the aforementioned certification, $130 million “shall” be withheld from obligation until the Secretary of State determines and reports to Congress that the Government of Egypt meets a list of conditions (see Report language below for details). There is no waiver provided for this withholding.
The Report accompanying the bill includes extensive language regarding Egypt, most notably:
- The Committee recommends assistance for Egypt at levels consistent with the prior fiscal year. The Committee notes the United States and Egypt share a mutual interest in Middle East peace and stability, economic opportunity, and regional security. Since the Camp David Accords, United States assistance to Egypt has played a central role in the country’s economic and military development. The Committee recognizes the enduring Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement as well as Egypt’s ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and counter Iran’s malign influence in the region. Promoting a stable, democratic, and prosperous Egypt, where the government empowers civil society and protects human rights, shall continue to be a core objective of United States policy.”
- The Committee continues to support $40,000,000 for higher education programs in Egypt, including $15,000,000 for scholarships. Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the USAID Administrator shall consult with the Committees on Appropriations on implementation of funds made available for scholarships in Egypt.
- Funds made available for assistance for Egypt shall be subject to prior consultation and the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations. Such funds should be made available for democracy programs and for development programs in the
- Sinai. Funds shall not be made available for cash transfer assistance or budget support. The Secretary of State shall take all practicable steps to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of funds made available by this subsection for assistance for Egypt.
- Withholding.—Pursuant to subsection (a)(3), the Secretary of State shall withhold $170,000,000 of the funds provided for Egypt under Foreign Military Financing Program until the Secretary certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is meeting the governance and human rights conditions described under Reports in this section. The national security waiver included in this Act is applicable only to paragraph (3)(A).
- In addition to the funds withheld pursuant to subparagraph (A), $130,000,000 of the total funds provided for Egypt under Foreign Military Financing Program are also withheld from obligation pursuant to subparagraph (C), and excluded from the waiver, until the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that—(i) the Government of Egypt is making clear and consistent progress in releasing political prisoners, providing detainees with due process of law, and preventing the intimidation and harassment of American citizens; and (ii) that the Government of Egypt has provided American citizens with fair and commensurate compensation for injuries caused during an attack against a tour group by the Egyptian military. The Secretary, in making the determination with respect to whether the Government of Egypt has provided American citizens with fair and commensurate compensation for injuries suffered as a result of an attack against a tour group by the Egyptian military, shall consider the case of American citizen, April Corley, and her severe injuries and losses sustained during an attack on her tour group by Egyptian armed forces on September 13, 2015.
The Report also reiterates the required reports to Congress on Egypt (see above), and lays out 2 additional reporting requirements:
- Political prisoners and American citizens.—The Committee notes with concern the treatment of human rights defenders and political prisoners held in Egypt. Not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the treatment and conditions of political prisoners in Egyptian custody as well as the steps taken to secure the release of wrongfully detailed American citizens from Egypt and to prevent the intimidation or harassment of Americans citizens.
- Religious freedom.—Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall update the report required under this heading in House Report 117–84.
Section 7041(b) – Iran
This section of the bill includes perennial language (1) stipulating that funding in the bill (under Diplomatic Programs, ESF, and NADR) “shall be made available for the programs and activities described under this section in the report accompanying this Act,” and (2) requiring the Secretary of State to submit two reports to Congress:
(A) the semi-annual report required by section 135 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2160e(d)(4)), as added by section 2 of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–17).
(B) Not later than 180 days after the enactment of this Act, a report on “(i) the status of United States bilateral sanctions on Iran; (ii) the reimposition and renewed enforcement of secondary sanctions; and (iii) the impact such sanctions have had on Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East.”
The Report accompanying the bill further stipulates:
- Subsection (b) continues language from the prior year. Pursuant to paragraph (1), funds appropriated under Diplomatic Programs, Economic Support Fund, and Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs shall be made available for the following: (1) to support the United States policy to prevent Iran from achieving the capability to produce or otherwise obtain a nuclear weapon; (2) to support an expeditious response to any violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions or to efforts that advance Iran’s nuclear program; (3) to support the implementation, enforcement, and renewal of sanctions against Iran for its support of nuclear weapons development, terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missile and weapons proliferation; and (4) for democracy programs for Iran, to be administered by the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.”
- Sanctions.—Pursuant to subsection (b)(2), not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall report on Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as well as on the status of United States bilateral sanctions on Iran, the re-imposition and renewed enforcement of secondary sanctions, and the impact such sanctions have had on Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the Middle East. Such report shall also include any entities involved in providing significant support for the development of a ballistic missile by the Government of Iran, including shipping and financing, and note whether such entities are currently under United States sanctions. The report shall be submitted in an unclassified form and contain a classified annex if necessary.
Section 7041(c) – Iraq
This section stipulates that funds under Titles III and IV of the Act shall be made available for assistance to Iraq for “(A) bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; (B) stabilization assistance, including in Anbar Province, (C) programs to support government transparency and accountability, judicial independence, protect the right to due process, and combat corruption; (D) humanitarian assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; and (E) programs to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations in Iraq.” This section also stipulates that no funds in this Act may be used “to enter into a permanent basing rights agreement between the United States and Iraq.”
The Report states:
- Subsection (c) continues language from the prior year. Pursuant to paragraph (1), funds shall be made available for bilateral economic assistance and international security assistance, including in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), and for programs to protect and assist religious and ethnic minority populations in Iraq. Funds made available under International Disaster Assistance and Migration and Refugee Assistance should be made available to support programs that address the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees throughout all regions of Iraq, including in the KRI, as well as their host communities. Additionally, funds under Economic Support Fund should continue to support programs that mitigate the impact of such IDPs and refugees in such region.
- Within the amount provided for assistance to Iraq, the Committee recommendation includes funds to support American-style higher education institutions in Iraq, including in the Kurdistan region, on an open and competitive basis. The Secretary of State or USAID Administrator, as appropriate, shall include funds to be allocated for this purpose in the spend plan submitted pursuant to section 7062(b) of this Act.
- The Committee urges the Department of State and USAID, in collaboration with civil society partners, the Kurdish Regional Government, and other appropriate U.S. government entities, to develop an integrated strategy dedicated to religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq to help ensure that such populations can stay in, or return to, their homeland. The Committee notes that such a strategy should include a ten-year recovery plan for affected religious minorities in Iraq, including their safe return, and outline how U.S. assistance to Iraq contributes to such efforts.
- The Committee encourages the Department of State to work with the relevant Federal agency partners to expedite the processing of the backlog of Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications as well as their family members. The Committee notes the critical role of the SIV program in assisting the United States mission in Iraq. The Committee encourages the State Department to expand the days and hours of operation for consular services in Erbil, as appropriate, to better accommodate the demand for services.
The Report also includes a reporting requirement:
Religious minorities.—The Committee remains concerned for ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and directs the Secretary of State to provide a report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, on the status of humanitarian assistance for vulnerable and persecuted religious minorities. Such report shall include information regarding the status of restoring residential services such as water, electricity, sewage, health, and education.
Section 7041(d) – Israel
This section of the bill states that under the heading of FMF, “not less than $3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30 days of enactment of this Act.” The text includes perennial stipulation that “…to the extent that the Government of Israel requests that funds be used for such purposes, grants made available for Israel under this heading shall, as agreed by the United States and Israel, be available for advanced weapons systems, of which not less than $775,300,000 shall be available for the procurement in Israel of defense articles and defense services, including research and development.”
NOTE: As highlighted previously in the Round-Up, these little-remarked stipulations – early disbursal and permission for almost $800 million of FMF to be spent inside Israel – are unique to Israel’s aid program. Both significantly increase the value of the assistance to Israel and the cost of the assistance to the U.S. In all other cases, FMF is obligated and disbursed by the U.S. on an as-used basis, meaning that the U.S. either keeps the money in the U.S. Treasury until it is needed (where it earns interest) or if the money is not in the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. does not have to borrow it until it is needed (meaning less interest paid). In the case of Israel, the entire amount is handed over in a lump sum within 30 days of the law passing, meaning that Israel can bank the money and earn interest on it (which it can spend however and wherever it likes). In addition, in all other cases, FMF must be spent inside the U.S. (unless a specific exemption is granted). The logic behind this is that FMF is not just a “gift” to a foreign country but is actually a form of investment in the U.S. economy. In Israel’s case, however, almost $800 million of FMF may be used in Israel, rather than for the benefit of U.S. industry (this amount is gradually being phased out, but between now and the time it is phased out completely it still represents billions of dollars).
The Report accompanying the bill states:
Subsection (d) includes language carried in the prior year recommending $3,300,000,000 in grants for military assistance under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) Program to Israel, which is the same as the budget request. The Committee reaffirms its support for the 2016 United States—Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which demonstrates the unshakable commitment of the United States to the security of Israel and to ensuring that Israel’s qualitative military edge and defense capabilities are maintained. The Committee notes the continued importance of Israel as a major strategic partner and ally of the United States in an unstable and critical region of the world. The Committee strongly believes in the right and ability of Israel to defend itself against the wide range of threats it faces and believes that a close United States-Israel security partnership benefits the interests of both countries. The Committee further believes that by contributing to a safe and secure Israel, United States assistance also positively contributes to broader efforts aimed at achieving a negotiated two-state solution. Therefore, the Committee urges the Secretary of State to address in bilateral consultations with Israel the importance of ensuring that MOU-supported equipment is not used in any way that undermines the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution.” [emphasis added]
Section 7041 – Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
“The Committee reaffirms the longstanding, bipartisan support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and notes that a negotiated two-state solution is essential to achieving the goal of a democratic Jewish State of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace, security, and mutual recognition. The Committee remains concerned by the absence of direct negotiations and urges both sides to refrain from engaging in unilateral action that jeopardizes the chances for dialogue and returning to the negotiating table, or of eventual achievement of a two-state solution. This includes Palestinian incitement of violence, ongoing prisoner and ‘’martyr’’ payments that incentivize or reward terrorism, and pursuing recognition as a state and membership in international organizations in lieu of achieving a two-state solution through negotiations. This also includes Israeli annexation of territory and settlement expansion outside of an agreement negotiated between the two sides and extremist settler violence in the West Bank. The Committee fully supports efforts that foster reconciliation and engagement, and therefore recommends $50,000,000 under Economic Support Fund for the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act for fiscal year 2023 in order to continue critically needed people-to-people programming and joint economic partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Section 7041(e) – Jordan
The bill earmarks “not less than” $1.65 billion for Jordan, of which not less than $1,035,800,00 “shall be for made available under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund,’ including for budget support, incentive funds, and programs administered by the United States Agency for International Development…” The text goes on to stipulate that that an additional $200 million in ESF “should be made available pursuant to commitments made under such bilateral agreements.” It also states that “not less than” $400 million in FMF “shall be made available” for Jordan.
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
- The Committee notes the importance of the relationship with the Kingdom of Jordan and the strong leadership that Jordan continues to play in advancing peace and stability in the region. The Committee is supportive of the historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the governments of the United States and Jordan and expects all parties to work consistently towards its success. The Secretary of State and USAID Administrator shall continue to support critical economic reforms by providing budget support and incentive funds to help ensure Jordan’s long-term stability, strengthen Jordan’s borders with Iraq and Syria, and help mitigate the impact of hosting large numbers of refugees.
- Not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act, and every 90 days thereafter, the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator shall update the Committees on Appropriations on efforts to support the Government of Jordan in making sustainable economic reforms, including in the water and public sectors, on progress being made to meet negotiated benchmarks toward reforms agreed upon between the United States and the Government of Jordan, and the budget support being provided per the new MOU.
Section 7041 — Lowey Fund
The Managers’ Amendment adopted in the full Appropriations Committee markup 6/29/22 included new Report language a follows:
‘‘The Committee continues to support the People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund Advisory Board created under the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020. Advisory Board members play an integral role in making recommendations to the USAID Administrator regarding the types of projects that should be considered for funding through the Fund. The Com-mittee directs USAID to continue to ensure Advisory Board members have the appropriate information to carry out their responsibilities, other than information that is considered procurement-sensitive. This information shall include, but not be limited to: grantee recipient names and awards once available; progress reports on the status of current grantees; total number of applications; and geographic and demographic information of recipients. The Committee further directs USAID to continue consulting with the Committees on Appropriations on implementation of the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020.’’
Section 7041(f) – Lebanon
The bill text states that funds under titles III and IV “shall be made available for assistance to Lebanon…notwithstanding section 1224 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 (Public Law 107–228; 22 U.S.C. 2346 note).”
This section also stipulates that INCLE and FMF funding for Lebanon “may be made available for programs and equipment for the the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to address security and stability requirements in areas affected by the conflict in Syria, following consultation with the appropriate congressional committees.” It notes further that FMF funding for Lebanon may be used only for programs to: “(i) professionalize the LAF to mitigate internal and external threats from non-state actors, including Hizballah; (ii) strengthen border security and combat terrorism, including training and equipping the LAF to secure the borders of Lebanon and address security and stability requirements in areas affected by conflict in Syria, interdicting arms shipments, and preventing the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups; and (iii) implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.” Finally, the bill states that prior to obligating friends for assistance to the LAF, the Secretary of State shall submit to appropriators a spend plan, “including actions to be taken to ensure equipment provided to the LAW is used only for the intended purposes…” It adds that no funding shall be made to the ISF or LAF if either is “controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, as designated pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189).”
The Report accompanying the bill notes, with respect to Lebanon:
Subsection (f) continues language from the prior year. The Committee supports increasing assistance for Lebanon above the prior fiscal year, given the rising economic challenges facing Lebanon and the country’s ongoing political crises and instability. The Committee urges the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to continue providing humanitarian assistance, including through local NGOs, to help communities impacted by the COVID–19 pandemic and the global food security crisis. The Committee notes the important and enduring partnerships with institutions of higher education in Lebanon and directs the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to consult with the Committees on Appropriations on funding for such institutions.
The Report also includes a reporting requirement:
Lebanon report.—The Committee continues to be concerned about Hezbollah’s growing influence within the Government of Lebanon. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, on: (1) the extent of Hezbollah’s influence within such government, including the LAF; (2) what steps are being taken to prevent the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups; (3) the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701; (4) the prevention of building of cross-border tunnels into Israel and weapons factories inside Lebanon; and (5) the risks associated with the reported development of precision guided missiles by Hezbollah.
Section 7041(g) – Libya
This section states that “Funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act shall be made available for stabilization assistance for Libya, including support for a United Nations-facilitated political process and border security”. It adds a caveat that existing law limiting the uses of funds for certain infrastructure projects “shall apply to such funds.”
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
- Subsection (g) includes language from the prior year. The Committee recommends that assistance for Libya be made available to support a Libyan-led, inclusive, and negotiated political solution to the conflict, facilitated through the UN, and in full compliance with the Libyan ceasefire agreement. The Committee directs the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to strengthen the Libyan political process to help ensure free, fair, and credible elections as well as ongoing efforts to remove foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya.
- Prior to the initial obligation of funds made available by this Act for assistance for Libya, the Secretary of State shall certify and report to the Committees on Appropriations that all practicable steps have been taken to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of such funds
Section 7041(h) – Morocco
This section stipulates funds under Title III and Title IV of this Act “shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara,” subject to prior consultation with Congress.
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
Subsection (h) continues language from the prior year. Within the amount provided for Morocco, the Committee recommendation includes not less than $10,000,000 under Economic Support Fund, not less than $10,000,000 under Development Assistance, and $10,000,000 under Foreign Military Financing Program. The Committee recognizes the longstanding partnership between the United States and the Kingdom of Morocco based on mutual interests of stability, tolerance, and economic prosperity in the Middle East and Africa. The Committee encourages the diversification of the US-Morocco strategic partnership in order to strengthen trilateral cooperation with countries of the Sahel and West Africa to promote peace and security in this region.”
Section 7041 (i) – Saudi Arabia
This section states that: “None of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘International Military Education and Training’ may be made available for assistance for the Government of Saudi Arabia.” This prohibition is repeated in the Report accompanying the bill.
It also bars funding for the Export-Import Bank to “guarantee, insure, or extend (or participate in the extension of) credit in connection with the export of nuclear technology, equipment, fuel, material, or other nuclear-related goods and services to Saudi Arabia” unless the Government of Saudi Arabia: “(A) has in effect a nuclear cooperation agreement pursuant to section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2153); (B) has committed to renounce uranium enrichment and reprocessing on its territory under that agreement; and (C) has signed and implemented an Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
Section 7041(j) – Syria
This section states that “Funds appropriated by this Act under titles III and IV may be made available notwithstanding any other provision of law, for non-lethal stabilization assistance for Syria, including for emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations.” The section stipulates that such funds “may not be made available for” 2 things: “a project or activity that supports or otherwise legitimizes the Government of Iran, foreign terrorist organizations…or a proxy of Iran in Syria” or for “activities that further the strategic objectives of the Government of the Russian Federation that the Secretary of State determines may threaten or undermine United States national security interests”; and “should not be used in areas of Syria controlled by a government led by Bashar al-Assad or associated forces.” This section also lays out monitoring/oversight and consultation/notification requirements.
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
- Pursuant to subsection (j)(1), funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available for nonlethal stabilization assistance for Syria, including emergency medical and rescue response and chemical weapons use investigations. Prior to the initial obligation of any funds appropriated by this Act for assistance for Syria, the Secretary of State shall take all practicable steps to ensure that mechanisms are in place for monitoring, oversight, and control of such assistance inside Syria.
- The Committee remains deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating food security crisis in Syria, which makes the UN cross-border assistance critical to the well-being of civilians who rely on aid to survive. The Committee continues to support United States efforts to lead the humanitarian response and urges the Administration to redouble its efforts in the UN Security Council to reauthorize existing UN cross-border access and reinstate other UN border crossings to enable the delivery of life-saving aid.
- The Committee encourages the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to utilize humanitarian and stabilization funds for Syrian local and diaspora NGOs as well as international NGOs to help implement early recovery and resilience activities alongside increased support for lifesaving interventions in Syria. The Committee notes that the equitable distribution of stabilization assistance in northeast Syria is critical to addressing serious economic challenges and building capacity of trusted partners to help ensure that the region remains stable and secure.
- The Committee is concerned about smuggling, arms trading, drug trafficking, and other illicit activities that further destabilize Syria, provide illicit revenue to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and pose a significant threat to U.S. allies and partners in the region. The Committee supports the development of a strategy to guide appropriate action against narcotics production and trafficking in Syria, particularly involving the Syrian-produced drug known as Captagon and other illegal amphetamines.
Section 7041(k) – Tunisia
This subsection of the bill states: “Funds appropriated under titles III and IV of this Act shall be made available for assistance for Tunisia for programs to improve economic growth and opportunity, support democratic governance and civil society, protect due process of law, and maintain regional stability and security, following consultation with the Committees on Appropriations.”
This section also requires a report to appropriators not later than 90 days after the enactment of this Act, on the extent to which “(A) the Government of Tunisia is implementing economic reforms, countering corruption, and taking credible steps to restore constitutional order and democratic governance, including respecting freedoms of expression, association, and the press, and the rights of members of political parties; (B) the Government of Tunisia is maintaining the independence of the judiciary and holding security forces who commit human rights abuses accountable; and (C) the Tunisian military has remained an apolitical and professional institution.”
The Report accompanying the bill breaks notes:
- Subsection (k) includes language carried in the prior year and notes that a stable and viable democratic Tunisia is critical to regional security. The Committee recommends that assistance be made available to support the Tunisian people in holding free and fair elections and strengthening democratic governance, fighting corruption, promoting economic growth, empowering the private sector, and maintaining regional security. Additionally, the Committee directs the Secretary of State to raise concerns both publicly and privately with the Government of Tunisia on democratic backsliding and coordinate with the international community on an appropriate response to such action.
- In addition to the reporting requirement pursuant to subsection (k)(3), and prior to the obligation of assistance for Tunisia under Foreign Military Financing Program and International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, the Secretary of State shall determine and report to the appropriate congressional committees whether the Government of Tunisia has: (1) ceased the use of military courts to try politicians, journalists, or other civilians; (2) removed military personnel and assets from outside of the Tunisian Parliament building; (3) ceased the use of excessive force against protesters and respect freedom of assembly; and (4) ceased the repression of fundamental rights of civilians and political and media figures to criticize the government, security forces, and public officials.
Section 7041 — Western Sahara
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
“The Secretary of State shall continue to support a United Nations-led political process that achieves a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
Section 7041(l) – West Bank and Gaza
Assistance: Part 1 of this section in the bill is a hard earmark of “not less than” $225 million in ESF for “programs in the West Bank and Gaza, which may include water, sanitation, and other infrastructure improvements.”
Report on Assistance: Part 2 of this section is a perennial requirement that prior to the obligation of any funds for the West Bank and Gaza, the Secretary of State shall report to Congress that the purpose of such assistance is to: “(A) advance Middle East peace; (B) improve security in the region; (C) continue support for transparent and accountable government institutions; (D) promote a private sector economy; or (E) address urgent humanitarian needs.”
Limitations on Assistance: Part 3 lays out further limitations on U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority, linked to the UN and the ICC.
- Barring Aid to the PA: Part 3(A) bars any ESF funding for the PA if “the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or if “the Palestinians initiate an International Criminal Court (ICC) judicially authorized investigation, or actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” [Note: the PA is already in violation of the second condition]. This section provides the Secretary of State the authority to waive the ban on assistance to the PA in the case where the Palestinians gain status at the UN if he “certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is in the national security interest of the United States, and submits a report to such Committees detailing how the waiver and the continuation of assistance would assist in furthering Middle East peace.” No waiver is provided if the Palestinians go to the ICC, meaning that under this section, the US is barred from granting any ESF for the PA, period (irrespective of whether the Palestinians adopt policy changes to address the demands of the Taylor Force Act).
- Preventing the PLO Office from Re-Opening in the U.S.: Part 3(B) limits the President’s ability to waive longstanding (and anachronistic) legislation barring the PLO from having any representation in the United States. Where for decades Congress granted the President a “clean” national security or national interests waiver of that prohibition (contained in section 1003 of Public Law 100-204), in the Obama era Congress moved to make such waiver contingent on the President certifying that the Palestinians have not, after the date of enactment of this Act, “obtained in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof the same standing as member states or full membership as a state outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians” or “initiated or actively supported an ICC investigation against Israeli nationals for alleged crimes against Palestinians.” These conditions on the PLO office can be waived temporarily if the President can certify that the Palestinians “have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
Taylor Force Act: Part 4 of this section notes that “Funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘Economic Support Fund’ that are made available for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza shall be made available consistent with section 1004(a) of the Taylor Force Act (title X of division S of Public Law 115–141).”
The Report notes, with respect to aid for the West Bank and Gaza:
- Subsection (l) includes similar language carried in the prior year regarding assistance for the West Bank and Gaza.
- Assistance to the Palestinians.—The Committee recommendation includes $225,000,000 under Economic Support Fund for humanitarian and development assistance for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza and believes such assistance is critically needed to help provide for basic needs, such as food, water, health, shelter, protection, education, and livelihoods; to promote peace and development; and to support the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. The Committee urges the Secretary of State to continue supporting— with United States assistance—Palestinian economic development, security coordination, and Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, which are the underpinnings to any sustainable two-state solution. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to promptly inform the Committees on Appropriations of any alleged incident involving any United States assistance used in such a way that adversely affects or jeopardizes these objectives
The Report also includes a number of reporting requirements (some of which were included in bill text in prior SFOPS law):
- Security report.—The reporting requirements in section 1404 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110–252) shall apply to funds made available by this Act, including a description of modifications, if any, to the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority. [As a reminder, Section 1404 of PL 110-252 states: “Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act and 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations a report on assistance provided by the United States for the training of Palestinian security forces, including detailed descriptions of the training, curriculum, and equipment provided; an assessment of the training and the performance of forces after training has been completed; and a description of the assistance that has been pledged and provided to Palestinian security forces by other donors: Provided, That not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, in classified form if necessary, on the security strategy of the Palestinian Authority.”]
- Incitement report.—Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees detailing steps taken by the Palestinian Authority to counter terrorism and incitement of violence against Israelis and to promote peace and coexistence with Israel. The report shall also include efforts by the Government of Israel to counter incitement of violence against Palestinian civilians and promote peace and coexistence with Palestinians. [the underlined/bold text is NEW – as in, the report was previously included in the House bill text, but included no mention of incitement against Palestinians].
- United States Consulate in Jerusalem.—The Committee recommendation includes sufficient funds under Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance to support the Administration’s plan to reopen the United States Consulate in Jerusalem. The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, detailing the steps necessary to reopen the United States Consulate in Jerusalem, a timeline for restoring staffing levels within the Consulate, and the extent to which such a diplomatic mission complements the broader strategy of improving relations with the Palestinian people.
Section 7041 – Yemen
The Report notes:
“The Committee recommends funds under title III and Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs for health, humanitarian, and stabilization efforts for Yemen, including demining operations.
Section 7042: Africa
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
The Committee encourages the Secretary of State to continue to work with the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to address concerns over water security and development needs. The Committee believes substantive negotiations, such as under the leadership of the African Union, are the only path to resolving the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
Section 7046: Europe and Eurasia
Part (d) of this section deals with Turkey. It bars funds ”to facilitate or support the sale of defense articles or defense services to the Turkish Presidential Protection Directorate (TPPD),” unless the Secretary of State certifies that TPPD members named in the 7/17/17 indictment by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and against whom there are pending charges “have returned to the US to stand trial or have otherwise been brought to justice.” This limitation that does not apply to funding border security purposes, NATO or coalition operations, or to enhance the protection of US officials and facilities in Turkey.
The Report accompanying the bill notes:
The Committee recommendation includes $1,800,000 for Greece under International Military Education and Training. In addition, the Committee directs the Secretary of State to facilitate and, as appropriate, defray the costs of the meetings of the Interparliamentary Group established by the United States-Greece Defense and Interparliamentary Partnership Act of 2021. The Interparliamentary Group is expected to meet at least once a year and will serve as the legislative component to the 3+1 process between the United States, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.
Section 7048: United Nations
This section includes a perennial provision — Part (b)(1) of this section prohibits funding expenses for expenses for any US delegation to anything having to do with, or contributions to any agency, body, or commission associated with the UN that is chaired or presided over by a country, the government of which the Secretary of State has determined, according to U.S. law, “supports international terrorism.” Part (b)(2) bars US contributions to any organization, agency, commission, or program within the United Nations system if such organization, agency, commission, or program is chaired or presided over by a country the government of which the Secretary of State has determined “has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” This section includes authority for the Secretary of State to waive these prohibitions if it is important for the national interest of the United States (and so reports to Congress).
Other provisions related to the UN Human Rights Council and UNRWA have been tweaked (to do things like attack the Commission of Inquiry) and moved into the Report language [this is the text that was the subject of an amendment offered by Diaz-Balart (R-FL) in Full Committee – and DEFEATED — seeking to remove the language from the Report and put it back into the bill.]
With respect to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the report states:
- None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available in support of the United Nations Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that participation in the Council is important to the national interest of the United States and that such Council is taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council. The report shall include a description of the national interest served and the steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council. The Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations not later than September 30, 2023, on the resolutions considered in the United Nations Human Rights Council during the previous 12 months, and on steps taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item and ensure integrity in the election of members to such Council.
- The Committee notes with disappointment the ascension to UNHRC of countries with poor human rights records, and therefore urges the Secretary of State and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to continue to exercise the renewed influence of the United States in the Council to vigorously press other countries to uphold human rights, respect the rule of law, and treat their citizens with dignity. The Committee directs the Secretary of State and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to continue to publicly denounce, and work to reverse, the disproportionate focus of the UNHRC on Israel, including the 2021 establishment of the unprecedented Commission of Inquiry to investigate Israel, which perpetuates the unfair singling out of Israel in the UN and represents an unnecessary obstacle to the cause of peace. The Committee continues to disapprove of UNHRC resolution A/HRC/31/L.39, which is counterproductive to achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
With respect to UNRWA, the report states:
- Prior to the initial obligation of funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the Secretary of State shall report to the Committees on Appropriations, in writing, on whether UNRWA is: (1) utilizing Operations Support Officers in the West Bank, Gaza, and other fields of operation to inspect UNRWA installations and reporting any inappropriate use; (2) acting promptly to address any staff or beneficiary violation of its own policies (including the policies on neutrality and impartiality of employees) and the legal requirements under section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961; (3) implementing procedures to maintain the neutrality of its facilities, including implementing a no-weapons policy, and conducting regular inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian or other appropriate purposes; (4) taking necessary and appropriate measures to ensure it is operating in compliance with the conditions of section 301(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and continuing regular reporting to the Department of State on actions it has taken to ensure conformance with such conditions; (5) taking steps to ensure the content of all educational materials currently taught in UNRWA administered schools and summer camps is consistent with the values of human rights, dignity, and tolerance and does not induce incitement; (6) not engaging in operations with financial institutions or related entities in violation of relevant United States law, and is taking steps to improve the financial transparency of the organization; and (7) in compliance with the United Nations Board of Auditors’ biennial audit requirements and is implementing in a timely fashion the Board’s recommendations.
- The Committee commends the Administration’s decision to resume humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, including contributions to UNRWA and notes that over 70 percent of UNRWA’s program budget is dedicated to education and healthcare. As part of the Administration’s ongoing reengagement with UNRWA, the Committee urges the Secretary of State to secure additional contributions to the Agency from countries in the region, work with the Government of Lebanon on job opportunities for refugees, and work with UNRWA on overcoming residual financial impacts to the Agency created by the 2018 suspension of U.S. contributions.
- In addition to the reports required prior to the obligation of funds made available by this Act to UNRWA, the Secretary of State shall take additional steps to ensure that UNRWA adheres to the UN humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality, humanity, and neutrality, and redoubles efforts to (1) implement procedures to maintain the neutrality of its facilities, including implementing a no-weapons policy and conducting regular inspections of its installations, to ensure they are only used for humanitarian or other appropriate purposes; and (2) take steps to ensure that the content of all educational materials taught in UNRWA-administered schools and summer camps is: (A) consistent with the value of dignity for all persons; and (B) does not induce or encourage incitement, violence, or prejudice.
In addition, the Report includes (perennial) reporting requirements related to the UN and Israel/Palestine:
- Annual report on anti-Israel bias.—The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations describing instances of anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, including an identification of the agencies and entities where such bias has been demonstrated in the past, including those that appear under this heading in title I of House Report 116–444.
- UNHRC.—The Committee directs the Secretary of State to submit an updated report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, on all United States contributions to the UNHRC for the preceding fiscal year, including amounts provided through the UN Regular Budget and through voluntary contributions. Such report shall also include a description of the extent to which United States participation in the Council serves the national interest and the steps the Council has taken to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item.
- United Nations Relief and Works Agency.—Not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees on the degree to which UNRWA is complying with the policies and procedures described under the heading ‘‘United Nations Relief and Works Agency’’ and the areas in which the Department is partnering with the Agency on new guidelines or reform efforts. Such report shall include an updated description of the mechanisms UNRWA has in place to identify incitement and other unacceptable subject matters, including anti-Semitic content, in locally-produced textbooks and the procedures in place to substitute such material with curriculum that emphasizes the importance of human rights, tolerance, and non-discrimination.
Section 7050. Global Internet Freedom
Part (b)(1)(B) stipulates that funds made available pursuant to this subsection shall be “for programs to implement the May 2011, International Strategy for Cyberspace, the Department of State International Cyberspace Policy Strategy required by section 402 of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 (division N of Public Law 114–113), and the comprehensive strategy to promote Internet freedom and access to information in Iran, as required by section 414 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (22 U.S.C. 8754)”. Also, the Report accompanying the bill includes a funding table for this section, which designates $16,750,000 million for “Near East Regional Democracy.”
Section 7060. Sector Allocations
Part (f), entitled “Reconciliation Programs,” states that “Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Development Assistance’’, not less than $30,000,000 shall be made available to support people-to-people reconciliation programs which bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war.”
The report accompanying the bill notes:
Funds for higher education shall also be used to support institutions of higher education in countries experiencing economic crisis and should prioritize United States-accredited institutions of higher education in the Middle East and not-for-profit, coeducational American institutions in the Middle East and Asia.
SEC . 7071 — WAIVER AUTHORITY
The bill includes the following NEW provision: “The President may waive section 414 of Public Law 101–246 and section 410 of Public Law 103–236 with respect to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization if the President determines and reports in writing to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the appropriate congressional committees that todo so would enable the United States to counter Chinese influence or to promote other national interests of the United States: Provided, That the authority of this section shall cease to have effect if, after enactment of this Act, the Palestinians obtain the same standing as member states or full membership as a state in the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians: Provided further, That the authority of this section shall sunset on September 30, 2025, unless extended in a subsequent Act of Congress.”
The Report accompanying the bill states:
This section includes new language regarding United States participation in international organizations. The Committee notes that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is involved in a variety of activities that advance United States interests, including mitigating the impact of COVID–19 on education systems, women and girls’ empowerment, protecting cultural heritage, Holocaust education, and recommending ethical standards for artificial intelligence. Therefore, the Committee includes the authority and funding necessary to resume United States annual contributions to UNESCO. At the same time, the Committee directs the Secretary of State and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations to continue efforts to deter the UN and its specialized agencies from recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a member-state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.