Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009

Bill Number: 
H.R. 2134
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Relevant Text: 

Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)

HR 2134 IH


1st Session

H. R. 2134

To establish the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission.


April 28, 2009

Mr. ENGEL (for himself, Mr. MACK, Mr. BERMAN, Mrs. BONO MACK, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. WEXLER, and Mr. PIERLUISI) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To establish the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009'.


    Congress finds the following:

      (1) While the United States accounts for approximately 5 percent of world population, in 2007, an estimated 17.2 percent of the world's users of illegal drugs were from the United States.

      (2) 100 percent of the United States cocaine supply and 90 percent of the United States heroin supply originates in the Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia and Peru.

      (3) In those source countries, the cultivation, production and trafficking of cocaine and heroin generate violence, instability and corruption.

      (4) In the transit countries of Central America, Mexico, Ecuador, Haiti and other Caribbean nations, drug trafficking is central to the growing strength of organized criminal gangs that threaten local and national law enforcement, political institutions and citizen security.
      (5) Organized criminal cartels in Mexico are engaged in a civil conflict with each other and a conflict with Mexican counterdrug security forces. These cartels control the wholesale of virtually all cocaine trafficked into major urban areas in the United States.

      (6) Drug-related violence is on the rise in Mexico and along the United States-Mexico border. 5,661 people died in Mexico in 2008 alone as a result of drug-related violence. This is more than double the 2007 total of 2,773.

      (7) From 1980-2008, United States counternarcotics assistance from the State and Defense Departments to Latin America and the Caribbean totaled about $11,300,000,000. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has spent an additional $2,500,000,000 in the Western Hemisphere during the same period. In those same years, the number of lifetime drug users has steadily risen for marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. In 1982 there were an estimated 53,000 marijuana users, which doubled to over 100,000 in 2007. Similarly, there were fewer than 22,000 cocaine users and fewer than 2,000 heroin users in 1982, while today there are approximately 36,000 and 3,800, respectively.


    There is established an independent commission to be known as the `Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission' (in this Act referred to as the `Commission').


    The Commission shall review and evaluate United States illicit drug supply policy, with particular emphasis on international drug policies and programs directed toward the countries of the Western Hemisphere and demand reduction policies and programs. The Commission shall identify policy and program options to improve existing international and domestic counternarcotics policy.


    (a) Review of Illicit Drug Supply Reduction and Demand Reduction Policies- The Commission shall conduct a comprehensive review of United States illicit drug supply reduction and demand reduction policies and shall, at a minimum, address the following topics:

      (1) An assessment of the effectiveness of United States international illicit drug control policies in the Western Hemisphere, including interdiction, crop eradication, and alternative development.

      (2) The impact of Plan Colombia and the Merida Initiative in curbing drug trafficking and drug-related violence in the Andean region, Mexico, Central America, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

      (3) An assessment of how to better use available technology to target major drug cartels.

      (4) The impact of the United States drug certification process in achieving positive results with respect to reducing drug production, cultivation, and trafficking.
      (5) An assessment of the nature and extent of the United States demand for illicit drugs.

      (6) An assessment of United States drug prevention and treatment programs, including drug courts and programs aimed at preventing recidivism.

      (7) An assessment of the extent to which the consumption of illicit drugs in the United States is driven by individuals addicted to or abusive of illicit drugs, and the most effective experiences in the United States and throughout the world in treating those addicts.

      (8) Recommendations on how best to improve United States illicit drug supply and demand reduction policies.

    (b) Coordination With Governments, International Organizations, and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Western Hemisphere- The Commission shall consult with--

      (1) government and nongovernmental leaders, as well as leaders from international organizations, from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean; and
      (2) the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) to examine what changes would increase its effectiveness.

    (c) Report-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 12 months after the first meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to Congress, the Secretary of State, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) a report that contains a detailed statement of the recommendations, findings, and conclusions of the Commission, including summaries of the input and recommendations of the leaders and organizations with which is consulted under subsection (b).

      (2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The report required under this subsection shall be made available to the public.


    (a) Number and Appointment- The Commission shall be composed of ten members, to be appointed as follows:
      (1) The majority leader and minority leader of the Senate shall each appoint two members.

      (2) The Speaker and the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint two members.

      (3) The President shall appoint two members.

    (b) Appointments- The Commission may not include Members of Congress or other currently elected Federal, State, or local government officials.

    (c) Period of Appointment- Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancies shall not affect the power and duties of the Commission, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

    (d) Date- Members of the Commission shall be appointed not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    (e) Initial Meeting and Selection of Chairperson- Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall hold an initial meeting to develop and implement a schedule for completion of the review and report required under section 5. At the initial meeting, the Commission shall select a Chairperson from among its members.

    (f) Quorum- Six members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.

    (g) Travel Expenses- Members shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of services for the Commission.


    (a) Meetings- The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or a majority of its members.

    (b) Hearings- The Commission may hold such hearings and undertake such other activities as the Commission determines necessary to carry out its duties.
    (c) Other Resources- The Commission shall have reasonable access to materials, resources, statistical data, and other such information the Commission determines necessary to carry out its duties from the Library of Congress, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Defense (including the United States Southern Command), and other agencies of the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government. The Chairperson of the Commission shall make requests for such access in writing when necessary. The General Services Administration (GSA) shall make office space available for day-to-day Commission activities and for scheduled Commission meetings. Upon request, the Administrator of General Services shall provide, on a reimbursable basis, such administrative support as the Commission requests to fulfill its duties.

    (d) Authority To Use the United States Mails- The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.

    (e) Authority To Contract- Subject to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, the Commission is authorized to enter into contracts with Federal and State agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals for the conduct of activities necessary to the discharge of its duties and responsibilities. A contract, lease, or other legal agreement entered into by the Commission may not extend beyond the date of termination of the Commission.


    (a) Executive Director- The Commission shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director. The Executive Director and such staff as is needed shall be paid at a rate not more than the rate of pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule.

    (b) Staff Appointment- With the approval of the Commission, the Executive Director may appoint such personnel as the Executive Director determines to be appropriate. The Commission may appoint and fix the compensation of such other personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its duties, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that no rate of pay fixed under this subsection may exceed the equivalent of that payable to a person occupying a position at level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
    (c) Experts and Consultants- With the approval of the Commission, the Executive Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

    (d) Detail of Government Employees- Upon the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may detail, without reimbursement, any of the personnel of such agency to the Commission to assist in carrying out the duties of the Commission. Any such detail shall not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil service status or privileges of the personnel.


    The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Commission.


    (a) In General- There are authorized to be appropriated $2,000,000 to carry out this Act.

    (b) Availability- Amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.


    The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission shall terminate 60 days after the submission to Congress of its report under section 5(c).