Conference Report on H.R.2055: Division I - Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs appropriations 2012

Bill Number: 
Conference Report 112-331
Date of Last Action: 
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Relevant Text: 

DIVISION I--DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012

In implementing this conference agreement, the departments and agencies shall comply with the Senate report (S. Rept. 112-85) accompanying S. 1601 as though stated in this joint explanatory statement unless specifically directed to the contrary. Matters addressed in the report of the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (Full Committee Print, circulated on July 29, 2011) are restated in this joint explanatory statement where the conferees concur.

TITLE I

DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

ADMINISTRATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR PROGRAMS

(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

The conference agreement provides $6,550,947,000 for Diplomatic and Consular Programs (D&CP), of which up to $1,355,000,000 is for Worldwide Security Protection. The conference agreement provides an additional $4,389,064,000 in title VIII under this heading, which is designated for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism (OCO/GWOT) pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

Within the total provided under this heading, the conference agreement includes:

$2,277,862,000 for Human Resources (of which $121,814,000 is for public diplomacy);

$2,109,293,000 for Overseas Programs (of which $347,572,000 is for public diplomacy);

$822,513,000 for Diplomatic Policy and Support; and

$1,341,279,000 for security programs.

The conference agreement includes language amending the heading `Civilian Stabilization Initiative' included in prior acts to `Conflict Stabilization Operations' (CSO) and provides transfer authority of up to $35,000,000 of the funds appropriated under this heading to funds made available under the CSO heading. The conference agreement provides an additional $8,500,000 in title VIII under the CSO heading, which is designated for OCO/GWOT pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. The conferees remain concerned with CSO's limited activities, specifically the minor role it has played in response to the earthquake in Haiti and the revolution in Libya. The conferees will further assess the performance of the CSO during fiscal year 2012.

The conferees recognize that B-1 and B-2 visitor visa applications in some countries, such as the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Brazil, are significantly and rapidly increasing. The number of visa applications increased 53 percent in Brazil and 64 percent in the PRC from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2011, resulting in increased delays in interviewing applicants and longer approval times. The Department of State is taking steps to reduce the wait time but more needs to be done. Section 7076 of this Act directs the Secretary of State to take steps to reduce delays in processing tourist visas in the PRC, Brazil, and India, and to consider extending the expiration period for B-1 and B-2 visas for applicants before requiring a consular officer interview. The conferees recognize that wait times for interviews can fluctuate due to unforeseen circumstances, including assisting United States citizens abroad during an emergency, but expect the Department to continue to implement steps to minimize wait times. The conferees expect the Secretary of State to determine the appropriate extension beyond the current one-year limit in a manner consistent with security controls. The conference agreement also permits the Secretary to conduct a pilot program for processing tourist visas via secure remote videoconferencing technology if doing so would not pose a security risk.

The conferees direct the Secretary of State to report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, on steps taken to reduce visa processing wait times; the Department of State's 5-year forecast of non-immigrant visas for each country; the number of consular officers necessary to meet the Department's standards; a comparison of the Department's forecast with the Department of Commerce's 5-year visitor arrival projections; and the impact of the different projections on visa processing times and the required number of consular officers.

The conferees direct the Secretary of State to provide to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 90 days after the end of any videoconference pilot program, an assessment of the efficacy, efficiency, and security of this technology for conducting visa interviews.

The conferees encourage the Secretary of State to continue to support the United States-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality and the United States-Brazil Joint Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality.

The conferees endorse Senate report language regarding funding for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to monitor United States assistance to foreign security forces pursuant to section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended by this Act.

Section 7078 of this Act requires the Secretary of State to submit an operating plan for funds appropriated in title I. The conferees expect the operating plan to integrate the additional funds appropriated in title VIII for OCO/GWOT, where appropriate, and the OCO/GWOT amounts should be separately identified in the integrated plan.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

The conference agreement provides $61,904,000 for the Office of Inspector General (OIG), and an additional $67,182,000 in title VIII under this heading is designated for OCO/GWOT pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

The conferees direct the Inspectors General of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) to coordinate audit plans and activities to minimize unnecessary duplication, ensure comprehensive oversight plans, and maximize the effective use of resources. The conferees direct the OIG to continue to plan for increased responsibilities when SIGIR draws down its oversight operations.

Section 7078 of the conference agreement requires the relevant department, agency, or organization to submit to the Committees on Appropriations a spend plan for funds appropriated in titles I and II of this Act. The conferees expect each inspector general funded under this heading in titles I and VIII to submit such plans within 30 days of enactment of this Act.

INTERNATIONAL COMMISSIONS

INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND MEXICO

SALARIES AND EXPENSES

The conference agreement provides $44,722,000 for salaries and expenses of the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico (IBWC).

RELATED AGENCY

BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS

INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING OPERATIONS

The conference agreement provides $740,100,000 for International Broadcasting Operations, and an additional $4,400,000 in title VIII under this heading is designated for OCO/GWOT pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

The conferees endorse Senate report language regarding the denial of funding for Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) program enhancements. The conferees do not support the proposed recommendation to restructure broadcasting to the PRC, and provide adequate funding to sustain fiscal year 2011 program levels for Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia broadcasts to the PRC, including engineering costs. The conferees also provide adequate funding to continue fiscal year 2011 program levels for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Mashaal and VOA's Radio Deewa.

The conferees direct the BBG to notify the Committees on Appropriations of any significant increases or decreases to broadcast hours on each transmission platform (including shortwave, medium wave, Internet, satellite, and television) previously justified to Congress for all BBG language services. The conferees do not intend that the BBG should notify the Committees regarding minor or short-term broadcast schedule changes with minimal funding implications or that result from spring and fall time changes.

The conferees support continued funding for the BBG's Internet circumvention program and direct the BBG to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations, prior to the initial obligation of funds, detailing planned expenditures of funds that are made available for activities to promote Internet freedom. The conferees also direct the BBG, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to submit to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than September 30, 2012, a report describing efforts supported by the BBG, Department of State and USAID to promote Internet freedom, including an assessment of the results of such efforts and safeguards against the use of circumvention technology for illicit or illegal purposes. The conferees recommend that the fiscal year 2013 congressional budget justification materials include a request for funds for this program under this heading.

Funds in this account are allocated according to the following table and are subject to the provisions of section 7019 of this Act:

INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING OPERATIONS
[Budget authority in thousands of dollars]
----------------------------------------------------------
Program Budget authority
----------------------------------------------------------
Federal

BBG/IBB Operations 72,760
Voice of America 206,255
Broadcasting to Cuba 28,475
Engineering and Technical Services 189,300
Subtotal, Federal 496,790
Independent Grantee Organizations:
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) 94,870
Radio Free Asia 38,315
Middle East Broadcasting Networks 110,125

740,100 243,310
----------------------------------------------------------

Section 7078 requires the BBG to submit an operating plan for funds appropriated under this heading not later than 30 days after enactment of this Act. The conferees request that such plan include the assessed amount for the BBG's capital security cost share. In addition, the operating plan should integrate the funds appropriated under this heading in title VIII of this Act for OCO/GWOT, and the OCO/GWOT amounts should be separately identified in the integrated plan.

BROADCASTING CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

The conference agreement provides $7,030,000 for Broadcasting Capital Improvements.

TITLE III

BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE PRESIDENT
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE

The conference agreement provides $2,519,950,000 for Development Assistance (DA).

PROGRAMS

Funds provided for environment programs funded through USAID, the Department of State, and the Department of the Treasury should be made available to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions; develop renewable energy and increase end-use energy efficiency; adapt to rising temperatures, water and food scarcity, and rising sea levels; protect tropical forests, wildlife, and other biodiversity; and implement policies for the transparent and sustainable use of natural resources. The conferees endorse language in the Senate report directing that $200,000,000 be made available for biodiversity conservation programs, including $2,000,000 to implement and enforce the Lacey Act (section 8204 of Public Law 110-246), $10,000,000 for biodiversity programs in the Brazilian Amazon and $20,000,000 for such programs in the Andean Amazon. The conferees endorse language in the Senate report on funding for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, and direct that not less than $9,000,000 of such funds be directly apportioned to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for programs in Central Africa. The conferees endorse language in the Senate report directing that $1,000,000 be directly apportioned to the Department of the Interior for biodiversity and archaeological conservation activities in Guatemala's Mayan Biosphere Reserve, to include governance and law enforcement. The conferees recommend funding for other international conservation programs administered by the USFWS, United States Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The conferees continue to support funding to protect great apes in Indonesia and Africa and wildlife in South Sudan and Niger.

COUNTRIES

Ecuador.--The conferees endorse language in the Senate report on health and environment programs in Ecuador.

Guatemala.--The conferees support programs to address gender-based violence.

ECONOMIC SUPPORT FUND

(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)

The conference agreement provides $3,001,745,000 for Economic Support Fund (ESF), and an additional $2,761,462,000 in title VIII under this heading is designated for OCO/GWOT pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

Section 7078 of this Act requires submission of a spend plan for certain countries and programs not later than 30 days after enactment of this Act. The conferees request that these spend plans integrate the funds appropriated under this heading and in title VIII of this Act for OCO/GWOT where appropriate, and the OCO/GWOT amounts should be separately identified in the integrated plan.

Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI)/Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).--The conferees support the budget request for CARSI and CBSI.

Colombia.--The conference agreement provides not less than $179,000,000 under this heading to be apportioned directly to USAID for continued support of new and ongoing alternative development/institution building in Colombia, of which not less than $7,000,000 shall be transferred to the Migration and Refugee Assistance account to address the needs of Colombian refugees in neighboring countries, and not less than $15,000,000 is provided for assistance for Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups including for renewable energy activities in isolated communities. The conferees support assistance for flood relief and recovery including for small farmers, and recommend that not less than $3,000,000 be made available for continued support for biodiversity conservation programs and $500,000 for community-based programs to address the needs of children disabled by landmines and other causes related to the armed conflict.

Cuba.--The conferees support the budget request for Cuba.

El Salvador.--The conferees are aware of the devastating flooding in El Salvador during 2011 that caused extensive damage and recognize that El Salvador is extremely vulnerable to recurrent natural disasters. The conferees expect that additional assistance be provided under this heading and under the International Disaster Assistance heading for flood relief, reconstruction, and relocation of at-risk populations, including support for small farmers, and to enhance El Salvador's capabilities to prevent and respond to future disasters.

Haiti.--The conferees support the budget request for Haiti and direct that assistance for Haiti provided under this heading in this Act and prior appropriations acts be made available, to the maximum extent practicable, in a manner that emphasizes the participation of Haitian civil society organizations and directly improves the security, economic and social well-being, and political status of Haitian women and girls.

Mexico.--The conferees support the budget request under this heading and under the Development Assistance heading for USAID programs in Mexico and direct the USAID Administrator to submit a report, not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, on how these programs address the root causes of violence and instability.

TITLE IV

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE

DEPARTMENT OF STATE

INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT

The conference agreement provides $1,061,100,000 for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, and an additional $983,605,000 in title VIII under this heading is designated for OCO/GWOT pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

The conferees direct the Secretary of State to notify the Committees on Appropriations in writing, within 5 days of exercising authority allowing funds made available under this heading to be spent `notwithstanding any other provision of law', and such notification shall include a justification of such activities.

The conferees did not include the requested authority to disregard the geographic or purpose limitations on assistance provided in prior acts related to the Andean Counterdrug Initiative or Andean Counterdrug Programs. The conferees direct the Department of State and USAID to program remaining funds without delay and use the funds within the region.

The conferees support the budget request for CARSI and CBSI and expect the spend plans submitted pursuant to section 7078 of this Act for CARSI and CBSI to include activities that were conducted with prior year appropriations, achievements associated with the expenditure of such funds, and activities that will be funded in fiscal year 2012, including goals to be met.

The conferees recommend $160,600,000 for activities in Colombia of which not less than $30,000,000 is for rule of law programs, including $7,000,000 for USAID human rights activities, and $15,000,000 for the Office of the Colombian Attorney General including $7,000,000 for the human rights unit. The conferees direct the Department of State to report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act, on the proposed uses of funds for Colombia's judicial agencies, including activities to be supported, information on how assistance will help to reduce impunity, and benchmarks to be used for measuring progress in meeting specific goals.

The conferees recommend $5,000,000 for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

The conferees continue to be concerned with the lack of a professional, accountable police force in Guatemala and expect priority be given to funding the implementation of a police reform strategy that has the support of the Guatemalan government and human rights organizations.

The conferees direct the Secretary of State to report to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 120 days after enactment of this Act, on the role of United States assistance in addressing the needs of Guatemalan women and girls who have been victims of violence. The report shall include a description of how assistance supports victims of trafficking, rape and other sexual violence, combats human trafficking, and improves the capacity of government institutions, including the judiciary, law enforcement, and civil society organizations.

The conferees direct that no funds made available under this heading may be used to transfer excess weapons, ammunition or other lethal property of an agency of the United States Government to any individual or unit of the Haitian National Police if the Secretary of State has credible information that such individual or unit has committed a gross violation of human rights or other serious crimes.

The conferees support the budget request for the International Law Enforcement Academies.

The conferees recommend up to $248,500,000 for assistance for Mexico and note efforts by the Government of Mexico to implement constitutional reforms. The conferees are concerned, however, with the steadily increasing drug-related violence in Mexico, and credible reports of a pattern of abuses by Mexican police. The conferees are also concerned with ongoing gender-based crimes in Mexico, and encourage the Department of State to provide forensic equipment and training to Mexican states and localities that have the highest rate of homicide and other violent crime to ensure local law enforcement agencies have tools to solve and prosecute these cases. Additionally, the conferees direct the Secretary of State to provide a report, not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, on how programs funded under this heading are achieving judicial and law enforcement reforms in Mexico. The report should include objectives to be met, benchmarks for measuring progress, intended results, and the extent to which such programs are coordinated with the federal and state governments in Mexico.

The conferees support continued assistance to strengthen civilian law enforcement and judicial institutions to reduce violent crime and narcotics trafficking in Mexico and Honduras. The conference agreement includes sections 7045(d) and 7045(e) that require the withholding of a portion of the assistance for military and police forces in these countries until the Secretary of State makes certain findings and submits them in a report to the Committees on Appropriations.

The conferees direct the Department of State to ensure the prompt delivery of equipment and training provided under this heading for Mexico. Additionally, the conferees continue to support cooperation between the United States and Mexico to combat organized crime and drug trafficking along the border. The conferees direct the Secretary of State to develop and implement a coordinated border security strategy.

The conferees continue to support demand reduction programs and direct the Secretary of State to provide assistance at levels consistent with prior fiscal years.

The conferees request that the country-by-country report required under this heading integrate the additional funds appropriated under this heading in title VIII for OCO/GWOT where appropriate, and the OCO/GWOT amounts should be separately identified in the integrated report.

FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING PROGRAM

The conference agreement provides $5,210,000,000 for Foreign Military Financing Program (FMF), and an additional $1,102,000,000 in title VIII under this heading is designated for OCO/GWOT pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

Section 7078 of this Act requires submission of a spend plan for certain countries and programs not later than 30 days after enactment of the Act. The conferees request that these spend plans integrate the funds appropriated under this heading and in title VIII of this Act for OCO/GWOT where appropriate, and the OCO/GWOT amounts should be separately identified in the integrated plan.

The conferees support programs for the Guatemalan Coast Guard, Navy, and Army Corps of Engineers that enhance regional naval cooperation and maritime security and that increase disaster response and peacekeeping capabilities.

The conference agreement continues restrictions in current law on assistance for the Guatemalan Army. The conferees will consider a request for funding for such activities in fiscal year 2013 if the army has a narrowly defined mission focused on border security and external threats, is implementing a reform strategy that has broad support within Guatemalan society, is respecting human rights, is cooperating with civilian investigations and prosecutions of cases involving current and retired officers and with the CICIG, and is publicly disclosing all military archives pertaining to the internal armed conflict.

The conferees support the budget request for Mexico.

TITLE V

MULTILATERAL ASSISTANCE

FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE PRESIDENT
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

The conferees direct the Secretary of the Treasury to submit to the Committees on Appropriations, not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, a report that estimates the impact on poverty alleviation and economic growth in communities along the border between the United States and Mexico if the North American Development Bank's mandate were expanded to include financing of infrastructure projects in the border region that promote growth in trade between the United States and Mexico, sustainable economic and social development, and job creation in the region between the United States and Mexico, sustainable economic and social development, and job creation in the region.

TITLE VII

GENERAL PROVISIONS
The following general provisions are either new, or are substantively modified, from those included in division F of Public Law 111-117:

Sec. 7008. Coups d'Etat (Modified)

The conferees intend that the modifications to this provision shall apply to prospective coups d'etat and shall not apply to retrospective assessments.
Sec. 7021. Prohibition on Assistance to Governments Supporting International Terrorism (Modified)

Section 7021 of the conference agreement combines sections 7021 and 7022 in division F of Public Law 111-117 relating to prohibitions on the export of lethal military equipment and on providing bilateral assistance to countries supporting international terrorism. Additionally, section 7021 prohibits bilateral assistance to any foreign government controlled by a designated terrorist organization.

Sec. 7034. Special Provisions (Modified)

Section 7034(h)(5) states that funds appropriated by this Act that are made available to promote democracy and human rights shall also be made available to support freedom of religion, especially in the Middle East and North Africa.

Section 7034(k) redesignates section 620J of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to section 620M, and modifies it by substituting `credible information' for `credible evidence' in order to clarify that the information need not be admissible in a court of law to be credible and to conform to similar wording in a comparable provision in the Defense Appropriations Act, and by adding guidelines for: tracking United States assistance to foreign security forces; the collection, receipt, evaluation, and preservation of information about gross violations of human rights; vetting both individuals and units; and, to the maximum extent practicable, publicly identifying units for which no assistance shall be furnished pursuant to section 620M.

Sec. 7045. Western Hemisphere (Modified)

The conferees direct that of the funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for the Colombian Armed Forces, 25 percent may be obligated only after the Secretary of State consults with, and subsequently certifies and submits a written report to, the Committees on Appropriations that--

(1) The Colombian Armed Forces are suspending those members, of whatever rank, who have been credibly alleged to have violated human rights, or to have aided, abetted or benefitted from paramilitary organizations or other illegal armed groups; all such cases are promptly referred to civilian jurisdiction for investigation and prosecution, and the Colombian Armed Forces are not opposing civilian jurisdiction in such cases; and the Colombian Armed Forces are cooperating fully with civilian prosecutors and judicial authorities.

(2) The Government of Colombia has taken all necessary steps to sever links with paramilitary organizations or other illegal armed groups.

(3) The Government of Colombia is dismantling paramilitary networks, including by arresting and prosecuting under civilian criminal law individuals who have provided financial, planning, or logistical support, or have otherwise aided, abetted or benefitted from paramilitary organizations or other illegal armed groups, and by returning land and other assets illegally acquired by such organizations or their associates to their rightful occupants or owners.

(4) The Government of Colombia is respecting the rights of human rights defenders, journalists, trade unionists, and other social activists, and the rights and territory of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities; and the Colombian Armed Forces are implementing procedures to distinguish between civilians, including displaced persons, and combatants, in their operations.

The conferees also direct that not later than 90 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations detailing any United States funding, assistance or other support for the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, its officials, employees, affiliates and contractors during the period 2002 through 2010, including but not limited to training, equipment, information sharing, technical assistance, and facilities construction. To the maximum extent possible the report shall be provided in unclassified form, but may also include a classified annex.