Friday, December 20, 2019

USCIRF Reauthorized By Congress

Congress yesterday gave final passage to HR1865, Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (full text). Title VIII of the Act reauthorizes the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom for three more years.  The reauthorization bill makes a number of other changes to USCIRF's operations, including:
(1) requiring election of a Chair and Vice Chair at the first meeting of the Commission after May 30 each year, and requiring that they be of different political parties, with chair and vice chair's party rotated each year.
(2) USCIRF is to track the implementation of its recommendations and the effectiveness of such implementation.
(3) Commissioners invited to speak on behalf of USCIRF must notify other Commissioners of the invitation and must reflect Commission views in their remarks. Commissioners who are speaking in their private capacities must make this clear.
(4) If the government makes a payment to settle a harassment claim against a Commission member, the member shall be removed from the Commission.
Separately, on Dec. 18, the Senate approved the appointment of Rabbi Sharon A. Kleinbaum as a USCIRF commissioner.