Oversight Plan of the Committee

For the 113th Congress — January 15, 2013


    Pursuant to the requirements of House Rule X(2)(d)(1), the Committee on Foreign Affairs (“the Committee”) has adopted an oversight plan for the 113th Congress which will be shared with the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on House Administration. This plan summarizes the Committee’s oversight priorities for the next two years, subject to the understanding that new developments will undoubtedly affect priorities and workflow in the months ahead.

    Congressional oversight remains one of the key responsibilities of the legislative branch. Committee Rule 15 requires each Subcommittee to hold regular oversight hearings. Oversight activities will thus be coordinated between the Committee and the Subcommittees, in order to facilitate comprehensive and strategic oversight of the programs and agencies within the Committee’s jurisdiction.

    Oversight activities may include hearings, briefings, investigations, Member or staff-level meetings, correspondence, fact-finding travel, reports, and public statements. They may also include effective use and review of reports by the Government Accountability Office and by statutory Inspectors General, as well as Congressional Notifications submitted by executive branch agencies. The Committee will also consult, as appropriate, with other committees of the House that may share jurisdiction.

    The Committee’s oversight activities will emphasize:

    • effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy;
    • effective implementation of U.S. law;
    • the review of agencies and programs operating under permanent statutory authority;
    • the elimination of programs and expenditures that are inefficient, duplicative, or outdated; and
    • institutional reform, efficiency, and fiscal discipline.
    1. IranThe Committee will continue to closely review U.S. policy to address the comprehensive threat posed by Iran to the United States and to its interests and allies, including, but not limited to: Iran's ongoing efforts to develop and acquire nuclear weapons capabilities, its unconventional weapons and ballistic missile development, its state sponsorship of terrorism, and its efforts to exert and expand its destabilizing influence and operational capabilities in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. The Committee will also review political and economic support given Iran by other countries that is counter to U.S. interests. Of particular focus will be U.S. efforts to fully implement all sanctions with respect to Iran under U.S. law – including human rights sanctions - as well as the status and enforcement of multilateral sanctions against Iran.
    2. AfghanistanThe Committee will comprehensively review U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, including the development and implementation of the Strategic Partnership Agreement Between the United States and Afghanistan, the effectiveness of U.S. assistance programs, the broader political-military and associated counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategies, and the full range of policies related to the 2014 transition, including programs and budgeting processes.
    3. PakistanThe Committee will review all elements of U.S. policy toward Pakistan, including efforts to eliminate safe havens for violent extremists and establish a stable, democratic country. This review will encompass all aspects of aid to Pakistan, both civilian and security assistance, in order to assess the extent to which such programs effectively advance U.S. national interests. The Committee will also conduct ongoing oversight of matters relating to Pakistan’s nuclear program, including issues relating to nonproliferation, such as the legacy of the A.Q. Khan network.
    4. Middle East and North AfricaThe Committee will carefully review U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa, to include: the ongoing conflict in Syria and the related threat posed by chemical weapons; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the overall status of the Middle East peace process; the threat posed to the U.S. and its allies by terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda affiliates; the broader transitions and reform efforts taking place within the region inclusive of Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Morocco, Jordan and others; and United States policies, programs, authorities and funding to effectively address these challenges. The Committee will conduct oversight to assure Israel’s “qualitative military edge.”
    5. North KoreaThe Committee will review the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea, its proliferation activities and weapon sales involving rogue regimes, its illicit activities, continuing human rights violations, and U.S. efforts to assist North Korean refugees. The Committee will review U.S. diplomatic efforts and will examine next steps in U.S. policy to address the North Korean threat.
    6. International Terrorism and Transnational Organized CrimeThe Committee will examine the current status of al-Qaeda and its affiliates, with a specific focus on recruitment efforts, evolving save havens, and efforts to obtain WMD. The Committee will conduct oversight of the State Department’s various counterterrorism programs. The Committee will also examine the growing links between organized crime, illicit drugs, and global terrorism. Other transnational criminal issues of interest include maritime piracy, human, arms and wildlife trafficking, money laundering and intellectual property piracy issues.
    7. State Department Oversight, Authorization, and ReformThe Committee will monitor and examine the operations, budget, programs, planning, personnel, building, and security policies of the Department of State, with an eye toward authorization and reform legislation for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 that promotes U.S. national interests in a cost-effective and accountable manner. Special emphasis will be placed on the effective implementation of the recommendations of the Accountability Review Board, which was formed following the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. In addition to hearings with the Secretary of State and other Administration officials regarding their budget proposals for the upcoming year, such efforts may include: review of Foreign Service pay, incentive, and promotion policies; consideration of reforms to Executive Branch reporting requirements; and an examination of consular processes, including passport and visa security issues.
    8. Asia-Pacific RegionThe Committee will review the U.S.’s significant political, economic, and security interests in the Asia-Pacific, including East and Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Pacific Islands. The Committee will conduct oversight of U.S. relations with the Asia-Pacific, including foreign policy, foreign assistance funding, security cooperation, territorial disputes, and trade relations. The Committee will examine the State Department’s participation in multilateral organizations such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the East Asia Summit, and closely monitor the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. The Committee will monitor the needs of Taiwan for defensive weapons systems as provided for in the Taiwan Relations Act.
    9. U.S. International BroadcastingThe Committee will actively monitor and review the operations and organization of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the full range of U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting to ensure the most robust and effective operation possible.
    10. ChinaThe Committee will examine China’s role in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Particular focus will be placed on China’s assertiveness in territorial disputes, rapid military modernization, and human rights abuses. The Committee will also examine China’s role in the global economy, including unfair trade policies that threaten American jobs, such as indigenous innovation and theft of intellectual property. The Committee will review China’s support for despotic regimes in North Korea, Iran, and Syria, which has prevented meaningful sanctions from being implemented. The Committee will monitor the State Department’s participation in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and other related bilateral mechanisms. The Committee will investigate China’s increasing use of cyber espionage to affect foreign trade, and other policy outcomes.
    11. Economic Policy and TradeThe Committee will take a vigorous role in overseeing international economic policy, including U.S. leadership in trade, finance, development, and energy policy, and how such leadership may promote economic prosperity and national security. This will include, but is not limited to, oversight of, and potential legislation relating to, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Export Administration Act.
    12. Export Control ReformThe Committee will oversee proposed Executive Branch reforms of U.S. strategic export controls. In particular, the Committee will assess the extent to which proposed changes to the U.S. Munitions and Commerce Control Lists effectively safeguard critical technologies and national security, while supporting the defense industrial base and advancing U.S. commercial interests. The Committee will consider legislation on these and related matters as may be necessary and appropriate.
    13. U.S. Nonproliferation PolicyThe Committee will examine the effectiveness of U.S. nonproliferation policy and the international nonproliferation regime in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The Committee will address opportunities to strengthen existing nonproliferation organizations, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency, increase cooperation with other countries, and enhance international nonproliferation agreements and mechanisms. Prominent issues will include the global expansion of civil nuclear power and the potential spread of technology, equipment and material useful in the development of nuclear weapons capabilities. The Committee will closely examine proposed and existing bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries, including their potential to promote U.S. nonproliferation objectives.
    14. AfricaThe Committee will review political, economic and security developments on the African continent. Key issues will include efforts to eliminate safe havens for violent extremists, economic development – including implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act - effective use of aid, human rights, and responsible energy development. Particular attention is to be paid to the developments in Mali, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa.
    15. Western HemisphereThe Committee will conduct oversight regarding the content and effectiveness of U.S. political, military, and economic policy toward the countries of the Western Hemisphere. Special emphasis will be placed on the prospects for expanding trade, especially with Canada and Mexico, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and regional energy developments. The Committee will address continuing threats from narco-trafficking, organized crime, and terrorist organizations, including the implications of Iran’s increasing presence and influence. The Committee will examine the stability of, and cooperation between, the regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba.
    16. Security Assistance and Arms Transfer PolicyThe Committee will assess the effectiveness of FAA and AECA-authorized security assistance programs in advancing U.S. national interests. In addition, the Committee will review those security cooperation programs funded by the Department of Defense but which require concurrence of the Secretary of State, or otherwise give rise to this Committee’s jurisdiction. The Committee will also review law and policy relating to U.S. arms transfers and related end-use monitoring, as well as various counterterrorism tools that impact foreign policy. The Committee will also continue to carefully review proposed arms sales and transfers proposed by the Administration to make sure they comport with U.S. foreign and national security policy, as well as benefit the legitimate defense needs of the recipient countries, and the process by which the Administration consults with the Committee and the Congress on such sales to ensure proper oversight.
    17. RussiaThe Committee will address the impact of Russia’s foreign policy on U.S. political, economic, and other interests in key countries and regions, with a focus on identifying significant areas of competition and potential cooperation. Of note is the Administration’s announced intention to negotiate new agreements with Russia on limiting strategic forces and ballistic missile defense, including the U.S. system scheduled for deployment in Europe. Russia’s adherence to the rules of the World Trade Organization and the impact on U.S. exports will be addressed. The Committee will also review how Russia’s domestic policies impact the U.S., and will consider the country’s respect for human rights, democratic governance, and rule of law.
    18. Europe/EurasiaThe Committee will review U.S. relations with European countries, with an emphasis on the European Union and NATO, including potential membership of the Western Balkan nations in those institutions. Key issues will include removal of barriers to trade, including a potential Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area, the deployment of a regional ballistic missile defense system, the impact of the European financial crisis, diversification of energy sources, and Turkey’s new foreign policy orientation and its domestic political evolution, among others. The Committee will also conduct oversight of U.S. policy in Central Asia, including as it relates to the 2014 transition in Afghanistan.
    19. Foreign AssistanceThe Committee will review the underlying authorities for U.S. foreign assistance with an eye towards reducing duplication, and increasing transparency and effectiveness. It will also review issues related to the subsequent implementation of U.S. foreign assistance programs and projects, including the role of U.S. missions and embassies. In addition, the Committee will review issues related to coordination between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. Government agencies and departments that are involved in carrying out U.S. foreign assistance. Among a broad range of issues, the Committee will review U.S. foreign assistance initiatives aimed at addressing global health challenges, including maternal health and child survival issues, and the implementation of the Lantos-Hyde United States Global Leadership against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008. Assistance provided through the Millennium Challenge Corporation will also receive close scrutiny.
    20. Human Rights and DemocracyThe Committee will examine U.S. activities to promote democracy and protect human rights around the world. The Committee will critically assess U.S. involvement with multilateral human rights mechanisms, to ensure that U.S. diplomacy serves to promote fundamental human rights and freedoms.
    21. United Nations and International OrganizationsThe Committee will closely review all aspects of U.S. funding of, and participation in, international organizations. Close attention will be paid to whether such funding and participation is advancing U.S. interests and values, protecting the integrity of U.S. taxpayer dollars, and leading to increased transparency, accountability, and reform of those organizations. The Committee will closely monitor the work of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support, particularly efforts to improve performance, enhance accountability, and combat waste, fraud and abuse in United Nations Peacekeeping Missions.

    The Committee intends to exercise its oversight jurisdiction concerning the relations of the United States with foreign nations to the fullest extent allowed by House Rule X(1)(i). This means taking cognizance of events and circumstances in every region of the world outside of U.S. national borders, as well as U.S. foreign policy responses thereto, as developments warrant. According to Committee Rules, those responsibilities are divided among the Full Committee, its one functional subcommittee, and its five regional subcommittees, as follows:

    Full Committee: The full Committee is responsible for oversight and legislation relating to: foreign assistance (including development assistance, Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Millennium Challenge Account, HIV/AIDS in foreign countries, security assistance, and Public Law 480 programs abroad); national security developments affecting foreign policy; strategic planning and agreements; war powers, treaties, executive agreements, and the deployment and use of United States Armed Forces; peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and enforcement of United Nations or other international sanctions; arms control and disarmament issues; the United States Agency for International Development; activities and policies of the State, Commerce, and Defense Departments and other agencies related to the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act, including export and licensing policy for munitions items and technology and dual-use equipment and technology; international law; promotion of democracy; international law enforcement issues, including narcotics control programs and activities; Broadcasting Board of Governors; embassy security; international broadcasting; public diplomacy, including international communication and information policy, and international education and exchange programs; and all other matters not specifically assigned to a subcommittee. The full Committee will have jurisdiction over legislation with respect to the administration of the Export Administration Act, including the export and licensing of dual-use equipment and technology and other matters related to international economic policy and trade not otherwise assigned to a subcommittee, and with respect to the United Nations, its affiliated agencies, and other international organizations, including assessed and voluntary contributions to such organizations. The full Committee may conduct oversight and investigations with respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the Committee as defined in the Rules of the House of Representatives.

    Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade: This subcommittee has oversight and legislative responsibilities over the United States’ efforts to manage and coordinate international programs to combat terrorism as coordinated by the Department of State and other agencies, and efforts to bring international terrorists to justice. With the concurrence of the Chairman of the full Committee, it has oversight of, and legislation pertaining to, nonproliferation matters involving nuclear, chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction, except for legislation involving the Foreign Assistance Act, the Arms Export Control Act, the Export Administration Act, and sanctions laws pertaining to individual countries and the provision of foreign assistance (which is reserved to the full Committee). It has oversight of matters relating to international economic and trade policy; commerce with foreign countries; international investment policy; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency; commodity agreements; and special oversight of international financial and monetary institutions; the Export-Import Bank, and customs. With the concurrence of the Chairman of the full Committee, it also has legislative jurisdiction over measures related to export promotion and measures related to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency.

    Regional Subcommittees. The five subcommittees with regional jurisdiction are:

    • The Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations
    • The Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
    • The Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats
    • The Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
    • The Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

    As detailed below, two of the regional subcommittees also have functional jurisdiction. Each of the regional subcommittees has jurisdiction over the following within their respective regions:

    1. Matters affecting the political relations between the United States and other countries and regions, including resolutions or other legislative measures directed to such relations.
    2. Legislation with respect to disaster assistance outside the Foreign Assistance Act, boundary issues, and international claims.
    3. Legislation with respect to region- or country-specific loans or other financial relations outside the Foreign Assistance Act.
    4. Legislation and oversight regarding human rights practices in particular countries.
    5. Oversight of regional lending institutions.
    6. Oversight of matters related to the regional activities of the United Nations, of its affiliated agencies, and of other multilateral institutions.
    7. Identification and development of options for meeting future problems and issues relating to U.S. interests in the region.
    8. Oversight of base rights and other facilities access agreements and regional security pacts.
    9. Concurrent oversight jurisdiction with respect to matters assigned to the functional subcommittees insofar as they may affect the region.
    10. Oversight of foreign assistance activities affecting the region, with the concurrence of the Chairman of the full Committee.
    11. Such other matters as the Chairman of the full Committee may determine.

    The Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. In addition to its regional jurisdiction, this subcommittee has oversight of: international health issues, including transboundary infectious diseases, maternal health and child survival, and programs related to the global ability to address health issues; population issues; the United Nations and its affiliated agencies (excluding peacekeeping and enforcement of United Nations or other international sanctions); international cultural and educational programs and exchanges; the American Red Cross; and the Peace Corps. In addition, it has legislative and oversight jurisdiction pertaining to: implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; other matters relating to internationally-recognized human rights, including legislation aimed at the promotion of human rights and democracy generally; and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and related issues.

    The Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats. In addition to its regional jurisdiction, with the concurrence of the Chairman of the full Committee, this subcommittee has oversight jurisdiction related to emerging foreign threats to the national security and interests of the United States.

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