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First Gov  

June 14, 1999

H.R. 973 - Security Assistance Act of 1999
(Gilman (R) NY and 2 cosponsors)

The Administration supports H.R. 973, which would facilitate and improve U.S. security assistance to allies and partners. The Administration, however, has concerns with several provisions of the bill and will work with Congress to ensure that the legislation is amended to address these concerns.

In particular, the Administration strongly opposes Title IV, the "International Arms Sales Code of Conduct Act," which would require the President to take the necessary steps to begin negotiations to conclude an international agreement on restricting arms exports to countries that do not meet certain criteria relating to, among other things, democracy and human rights. While the Administration supports the intent of this legislation, as drafted, this title could significantly hinder U.S. efforts to increase the effectiveness of the Wassenaar Arrangement, as well as raises constitutional concerns regarding the President's foreign affairs negotiating authority.

The Administration also has concerns regarding the following provisions:

  • section 701, which expands the current annual military assistance reporting requirement to include reporting on defense articles provided with USG financial assistance, including loans and guarantees. This expansion would involve additional burdensome reporting within DoD and possibly other agencies, and could be interpreted as applying to programs not traditionally regarded as "assistance".

  • section 706, which would allow the Government of Greece to retransfer an operational Landing Ship Tank to a U.S. World War II veterans group for use as an operational floating memorial museum. Administration policy allows exceptions for such equipment to be transferred to private entities if placed on static demilitarized museum display.

  • section 601 (c), which would provide for the transfer by sale of a surplus naval vessel to Ecuador. The Administration prefers that this vessel be transferred to Ecuador using grant authorities.

In addition since the current authority to waive sanctions against India and Pakistan expires this fall, the Administration welcomes congressional attention to the need for legislative action on a sanctions waiver for these countries. Although the Administration is not prepared to waive additional sanctions at this time, we support comprehensive and permanent authority to waive Glenn and related sanctions against Pakistan and India, and the repeal of the Pressler amendment.

Pay-As-You-Go Scoring

H.R. 973 would affect direct spending and revenue; therefore, it is subject to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990. OMB's preliminary scoring estimate is under development.