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:
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:
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:
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.