[USC02] 22 USC CHAPTER 73, SUBCHAPTER II: COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
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22 USC CHAPTER 73, SUBCHAPTER II: COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
From Title 22—FOREIGN RELATIONS AND INTERCOURSECHAPTER 73—INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

SUBCHAPTER II—COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

§6431. Establishment and composition

(a) In general

There is established the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

(b) Membership

(1) Appointment

The Commission shall be composed of—

(A) the Ambassador at Large, who shall serve ex officio as a nonvoting member of the Commission; and

(B) Nine 1 other members, who shall be United States citizens who are not being paid as officers or employees of the United States, and who shall be appointed as follows:

(i) Three members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President.

(ii) Three members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, of which two of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the Senate of the political party that is not the political party of the President, and of which one of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the Senate of the other political party.

(iii) Three members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, of which two of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the House of the political party that is not the political party of the President, and of which one of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the House of the other political party.

(2) Selection

Members of the Commission shall be selected among distinguished individuals noted for their knowledge and experience in fields relevant to the issue of international religious freedom, including foreign affairs, direct experience abroad, human rights, and international law.

(3) Time of appointment

The appointments required by paragraph (1) shall be made not later than 120 days after October 27, 1998.

(c) Terms

(1) In general

The term of office of each member of the Commission shall be 2 years. An individual, including any member appointed to the Commission prior to December 23, 2011, shall not serve more than 2 terms as a member of the Commission under any circumstance. For any member serving on the Commission on such date who has completed at least 2 full terms on the Commission, such member's term shall expire 90 days after such date. A member of the Commission may not serve after the expiration of that member's term.

(2) Establishment of staggered terms

(A) In general

Notwithstanding paragraph (1), members of the Commission appointed to serve on the Commission during the period May 15, 2003, through May 14, 2005, shall be appointed to terms in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph.

(B) Presidential appointments

Of the three members of the Commission appointed by the President under subsection (b)(1)(B)(i), two shall be appointed to a 1-year term and one shall be appointed to a 2-year term.

(C) Appointments by the President pro tempore of the Senate

Of the three members of the Commission appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate under subsection (b)(1)(B)(ii), one of the appointments made upon the recommendation of the leader in the Senate of the political party that is not the political party of the President shall be appointed to a 1-year term, and the other two appointments under such clause shall be 2-year terms.

(D) Appointments by the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Of the three members of the Commission appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives under subsection (b)(1)(B)(iii), one of the appointments made upon the recommendation of the leader in the House of the political party that is not the political party of the President shall be to a 1-year term, and the other two appointments under such clause shall be 2-year terms.

(E) Appointments to 1-year terms

The term of each member of the Commission appointed to a 1-year term shall be considered to have begun on May 15, 2003, and shall end on May 14, 2004, regardless of the date of the appointment to the Commission. Each vacancy which occurs upon the expiration of the term of a member appointed to a 1-year term shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to a 2-year term.

(F) Appointments to 2-year terms

Each appointment of a member to a two-year term shall identify the member succeeded thereby, and each such term shall end on May 14 of the year that is at least two years after the expiration of the previous term, regardless of the date of the appointment to the Commission.

(3) Ineligibility for reappointment

If a member of the Commission attends, by being physically present or by conference call, less than 75 percent of the meetings of the Commission during one of that member's terms on the Commission, the member shall not be eligible for reappointment to the Commission.

(d) Election of Chair and Vice Chair

At the first meeting of the Commission after May 30 of each year, a majority of the members of the Commission who are present and voting shall elect a Chair and a Vice Chair. The Vice Chair shall have been appointed by an officeholder from a different political party than the officeholder who appointed the member of the Commission who was elected Chair. The positions of Chair and Vice Chair shall be rotated annually between members who were appointed to the Commission by officeholders of different political parties.

(e) Quorum

Six voting members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for purposes of transacting business.

(f) Meetings

Each year, within 15 days, or as soon as practicable, after the issuance of the International Religious Freedom Report, the Commission shall convene. The Commission shall otherwise meet at the call of the Chair or, if no Chair has been elected for that calendar year, at the call of six voting members of the Commission.

(g) Vacancies

Any vacancy of the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made. A member may serve after the expiration of that member's term until a successor has taken office. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term.

(h) Administrative support

The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis (or, in the discretion of the Administrator, on a nonreimbursable basis) such administrative support services as the Commission may request to carry out the provisions of this subchapter.

(i) Funding

Members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5 while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission. Members of the Commission shall comply with the requirements set forth in chapters 300 through 304 of title 41, Code of Federal Regulations (commonly known as the "Federal Travel Regulation") and the Department of State Standardized Regulations governing authorized travel at government expense, including regulations concerning the mode of travel, lodging and per diem expenditures, reimbursement payments, and expense reporting and documentation requirements.

(j) Removal

If a payment is made under section 415(a) of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1415(a)) for an award or settlement in connection with a claim alleging a violation of unlawful harassment, intimidation, reprisal, or discrimination under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.) that was committed personally by an individual who, at the time of committing the violation, was a Member of the Commission, the Member shall be removed from the Commission.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §201, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2797; Pub. L. 106–55, §§1(a), 2(b), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401, 406; Pub. L. 107–228, div. A, title VI, §681(b)–(d), Sept. 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 1408, 1409; Pub. L. 112–75, §2, Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1272; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §§803, 806(a), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3076, 3078.)

References in Text

The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, referred to in subsec. (j), is Pub. L. 104–1, Jan. 23, 1995, 109 Stat. 3, which is classified principally to chapter 24 (§1301 et seq.) of Title 2, The Congress. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note under section 1301 of Title 2 and Tables.

Amendments

2019—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 116–94, §803(1), struck out subpar. (A) designation and heading and subpar. (B). Prior to amendment, text of subpar. (B) read as follows: "Each member of the Commission shall be required to obtain a security clearance."

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 116–94, §803(2), amended subsec. (d) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: "At the first meeting of the Commission after May 30 of each year, a majority of the members of the Commission present and voting shall elect the Chair of the Commission. No member of the Commission is eligible to be elected as Chair of the Commission for a second, consecutive term."

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 116–94, §803(3), substituted "International Religious Freedom Report" for "Country Report on Human Rights Practices".

Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 116–94, §806(a), substituted "shall comply with" for "are subject to".

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 116–94, §803(4), added subsec. (j).

2011—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 112–75, §2(a)(1), added par. (1) and struck out former par. (1) which read as follows: "The term of office of each member of the Commission shall be 2 years. The term of each member of the Commission appointed to the first two-year term of the Commission shall be considered to have begun on May 15, 1999, and shall end on May 14, 2001, regardless of the date of appointment to the Commission. The term of each member of the Commission appointed to the second two-year term of the Commission shall begin on May 15, 2001, and shall end on May 14, 2003, regardless of the date of appointment to the Commission. In the case in which a vacancy in the membership of the Commission is filled during a two-year term of the Commission, such membership on the Commission shall terminate at the end of that two-year term of the Commission. Members of the Commission shall be eligible for reappointment to a second term."

Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 112–75, §2(a)(2), added par. (3).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 112–75, §2(b), inserted at end "No member of the Commission is eligible to be elected as Chair of the Commission for a second, consecutive term."

Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 112–75, §2(c), inserted at end "Members of the Commission are subject to the requirements set forth in chapters 300 through 304 of title 41, Code of Federal Regulations (commonly known as the 'Federal Travel Regulation') and the Department of State Standardized Regulations governing authorized travel at government expense, including regulations concerning the mode of travel, lodging and per diem expenditures, reimbursement payments, and expense reporting and documentation requirements."

2002—Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 107–228, §681(b), added par. (2).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 107–228, §681(c), substituted "after May 30 of each" for "in each calendar".

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 107–228, §681(d), inserted at end "A member may serve after the expiration of that member's term until a successor has taken office. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term."

1999Pub. L. 106–55, §1(a)(2), which directed amendment of section by inserting after first sentence "The term of each member of the Commission appointed to the first two-year term of the Commission shall be considered to have begun on May 15, 1999, and shall end on May 14, 2001, regardless of the date of appointment to the Commission. The term of each member of the Commission appointed to the second two-year term of the Commission shall begin on May 15, 2001, and shall end on May 14, 2003, regardless of the date of appointment to the Commission. In the case in which a vacancy in the membership of the Commission is filled during a two-year term of the Commission, such membership on the Commission shall terminate at the end of that two-year term of the Commission.", was executed by making the insertion after the first sentence of subsec. (c)(1) to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Subsec. (b)(1)(B)(iii). Pub. L. 106–55, §2(b), substituted "Three" for "three".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 106–55, §1(a)(1), designated existing provisions as par. (1) and inserted par. heading.

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 106–55, §1(a)(3), amended heading and text of subsec. (h) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: "The Secretary of State shall assist the Commission by providing to the Commission such staff and administrative services of the Office as may be necessary and appropriate for the Commission to perform its functions. Any employee of the executive branch of Government may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement to the agency of that employee and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege."

1 So in original. Probably should not be capitalized.

§6432. Duties of Commission

(a) In general

The Commission shall have as its primary responsibility—

(1) the annual and ongoing review of the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom presented in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the Annual Report, and the Executive Summary, as well as information from other sources as appropriate; and

(2) the making of policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress with respect to matters involving international religious freedom.

(b) Policy review and recommendations in response to violations

The Commission, in evaluating United States Government policies in response to violations of religious freedom, shall consider and recommend options for policies of the United States Government with respect to each foreign country the government of which has engaged in or tolerated violations of religious freedom, including particularly severe violations of religious freedom, including diplomatic inquiries, diplomatic protest, official public protest demarche of protest, condemnation within multilateral fora, delay or cancellation of cultural or scientific exchanges, delay or cancellation of working, official, or state visits, reduction of certain assistance funds, termination of certain assistance funds, imposition of targeted trade sanctions, imposition of broad trade sanctions, and withdrawal of the chief of mission.

(c) Policy review and recommendations in response to progress

The Commission, in evaluating the United States Government policies with respect to countries found to be taking deliberate steps and making significant improvement in respect for the right of religious freedom, shall consider and recommend policy options, including private commendation, diplomatic commendation, official public commendation, commendation within multilateral fora, an increase in cultural or scientific exchanges, or both, termination or reduction of existing Presidential actions, an increase in certain assistance funds, and invitations for working, official, or state visits.

(d) Effects on religious communities and individuals

Together with specific policy recommendations provided under subsections (b) and (c), the Commission shall also indicate its evaluation of the potential effects of such policies, if implemented, on the religious communities and individuals whose rights are found to be violated in the country in question.

(e) Monitoring

(1) In general

The Commission shall, on an ongoing basis, monitor facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom, in consultation with independent human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations, including churches and other religious communities, and make such recommendations as may be necessary to the appropriate officials and offices in the United States Government.

(2) Tracking; review

The Commission shall regularly—

(A) track the implementation by the United States Government of the recommendations it makes under paragraph (1); and

(B) review, to the extent practicable, the effectiveness of such implemented recommendations in advancing religious freedom internationally.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §202, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2798; Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(1), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §804(a), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3077.)

Amendments

2019—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 116–94 designated existing provisions as par. (1), inserted heading, and added par. (2).

1999—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 106–55 struck out heading and text of subsec. (f). Text read as follows: "The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out its duties under this subchapter, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places in the United States, take testimony, and receive evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out the purposes of this chapter."

Sense of Congress

Pub. L. 114–71, §2, Oct. 16, 2015, 129 Stat. 563, provided that: "It is the sense of the Congress that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom—

"(1) was created by Congress to independently assess and to accurately and unflinchingly describe threats to religious freedom around the world; and

"(2) in carrying out its prescribed duties, should use its authorized powers to ensure that efforts by the United States to advance religious freedom abroad are timely, appropriate to the circumstances, prudent, and effective."

§6432a. Powers of the Commission

(a) Hearings and sessions

The Commission may, for the purpose of carrying out its duties under this subchapter, hold hearings, sit and act at times and places in the United States, take testimony and receive evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

(b) Information from Federal agencies

The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. Upon request of the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission, subject to applicable law.

(c) Postal services

The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

(d) Administrative procedures

The Commission may adopt such rules and regulations, relating to administrative procedure, as may be reasonably necessary to enable it to carry out the provisions of this subchapter.

(e) Views of the Commission

The Members of the Commission may speak in their capacity as private citizens. Statements on behalf of the Commission shall be issued in writing over the names of the Members. The Commission shall in its written statements clearly describe its statutory authority, distinguishing that authority from that of appointed or elected officials of the United States Government. Oral statements, where practicable, shall include a similar description. If a Member of the Commission is invited to speak at an event in his or her capacity as a Commissioner, the Member shall provide notice of the request to all Commissioners and the Executive Director as soon as the Commissioner becomes aware of such invitation. Speeches and responses to questions at official events shall reflect the views of the Commission. Official speeches and other prepared materials shall be made available to all Commissioners in advance of the event. If a Commissioner is speaking in his or her private capacity, he or she shall include qualifying language that the views they are representing are his or her own views and not the views of the Commission.

(f) Travel

(1) In general

The Members of the Commission may, with the approval of the Commission, conduct such travel as is necessary to carry out the purpose of this subchapter. Each trip must be approved by a majority of the Commission. This provision shall not apply to the Ambassador-at-Large, whose travel shall not require approval by the Commission.

(2) Prohibition against payment of official travel by non-Federal sources

Members of the Commission and Commission staff may not accept payment from a non-Federal source for expenses related to official travel on behalf of the Commission.

(g) Annual disclosures

Not later than March 1 of each year, each Member of the Commission shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees (as defined in section 6433a(a) of this title) with respect to the most recently concluded 12-month period, that discloses any travel by the Member outside of the United States that was paid for or reimbursed by a person or entity other than the Member, a relative of the Member, or the Federal Government, including—

(1) who paid for or reimbursed the travel;

(2) a good faith estimate of the cost of the travel, if the travel was funded by a person or entity that does not employ the Member; and

(3) brief details of the travel and events related to such travel.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §203, as added Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(3), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401; amended Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §§804(b), 806(b),(c), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3077, 3078.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning Pub. L. 105–292, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2787, known as the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6401 of this title and Tables.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 203 of Pub. L. 105–292 was renumbered section 205 and is classified to section 6433 of this title.

Amendments

2019—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 116–94, §804(b), inserted at end "If a Member of the Commission is invited to speak at an event in his or her capacity as a Commissioner, the Member shall provide notice of the request to all Commissioners and the Executive Director as soon as the Commissioner becomes aware of such invitation. Speeches and responses to questions at official events shall reflect the views of the Commission. Official speeches and other prepared materials shall be made available to all Commissioners in advance of the event. If a Commissioner is speaking in his or her private capacity, he or she shall include qualifying language that the views they are representing are his or her own views and not the views of the Commission."

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 116–94, §806(b), designated existing provisions as par. (1), inserted heading, and added par. (2).

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 116–94, §806(c), added subsec. (g).

§6432b. Commission personnel matters

(a) In general

The Commission may, without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an Executive Director and such other additional personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties. The decision to employ or terminate an Executive Director shall be made by an affirmative vote of at least six of the nine members of the Commission.

(b) Compensation

The Commission may provide reasonable compensation to the Executive Director without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5 relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for the Executive Director may not exceed the rate payable under level II of the Executive Schedule under section 5313 of such title. The rate of pay for other personnel of the Commission may not exceed the rate payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of such title. All employees of the Commission shall otherwise be treated as employees whose pay is disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate, including for purposes of applying the Standing Rules of the Senate. The Commission shall be treated as an employing office of the Senate.

(c) Professional staff

The Commission and the Executive Director shall hire Commission staff on the basis of professional and nonpartisan qualifications. Commissioners may not individually hire staff of the Commission. Staff shall serve the Commission as a whole and may not be assigned to the particular service of a single Commissioner or a specified group of Commissioners. This subsection does not prohibit staff personnel from assisting individual members of the Commission with particular needs related to their duties.

(d) Staff and services of other Federal agencies

(1) Department of State

The Secretary of State shall assist the Commission by providing on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable basis to the Commission such staff and administrative services as may be necessary and appropriate to perform its functions.

(2) Other Federal agencies

Upon the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal department or agency may detail, on a reimbursable or nonreimbursable basis, any of the personnel of that department or agency to the Commission to assist it in carrying out its functions under this subchapter. The detail of any such personnel shall be without interruption or loss of civil service or Foreign Service status or privilege.

(e) Security clearances

The Executive Director shall be required to obtain a security clearance. The Executive Director may request, on a needs-only basis and in order to perform the duties of the Commission, that other personnel of the Commission be required to obtain a security clearance. The level of clearance shall be the lowest necessary to appropriately perform the duties of the Commission.

(f) Cost

The Commission shall reimburse all appropriate Government agencies for the cost of obtaining clearances for members of the Commission, for the Executive Director, and for any other personnel.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §204, as added Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(3), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 402; amended Pub. L. 112–75, §3(a), Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1273; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §805(a), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3077.)

Prior Provisions

A prior section 204 of Pub. L. 105–292 was renumbered section 206 and is classified to section 6434 of this title.

Amendments

2019—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 116–94, §805(a)(1), substituted "provide reasonable compensation to the Executive Director" for "fix the compensation of the Executive Director and other personnel" and "may not exceed the rate payable under level II of the Executive Schedule under section 5313" for "and other personnel may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316" and inserted at end "The rate of pay for other personnel of the Commission may not exceed the rate payable for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of such title. All employees of the Commission shall otherwise be treated as employees whose pay is disbursed by the Secretary of the Senate, including for purposes of applying the Standing Rules of the Senate. The Commission shall be treated as an employing office of the Senate."

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 116–94, §805(a)(2), substituted "the Commission, for the Executive Director" for "the commission, for the executive director".

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 116–94, §805(a)(3), struck out subsec. (g) which related to application of antidiscrimination laws.

2011—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 112–75 added subsec. (g).

Pending Claims

Pub. L. 112–75, §3(b), Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1273, provided that: "Any administrative or judicial claim or action pending on the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 23, 2011] may be maintained under section 204(g) of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 [former 22 U.S.C. 6432b(g)], as added by subsection (a)."

§6433. Report of Commission

(a) In general

Not later than May 1 of each year, the Commission shall submit a report to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress setting forth its recommendations for United States policy options based on its evaluations under section 6432 of this title.

(b) Classified form of report

The report may be submitted in classified form, together with a public summary of recommendations, if the classification of information would further the purposes of this chapter.

(c) Individual or dissenting views

Each member of the Commission may include the individual or dissenting views of the member.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §205, formerly §203, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2799; renumbered §205, Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(2), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original "this Act", meaning Pub. L. 105–292, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2787, known as the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6401 of this title and Tables.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 205 of Pub. L. 105–292 was renumbered section 207 and is classified to section 6435 of this title.

§6433a. Strategic plan

(a) Definitions

In this section:

(1) Appropriate congressional committees

The term "appropriate congressional committees" means—

(A) the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;

(B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives;

(C) the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(D) the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(2) Commission

The term "Commission" means the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom established under section 6431 of this title.

(3) Commissioner

The term "Commissioner" means a member of the Commission.

(4) Vice Chair

The term "Vice Chair" means the Vice Chair of the Commission who was appointed to such position by an elected official from the political party that is different from the political party of the elected official who appointed the Chair of the Commission.

(b) Strategic policy and organizational review planning process

Not later than 60 days after October 16, 2015, and not less frequently than biennially thereafter, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Commission, in coordination with the Commissioners, the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Commission staff, and others jointly selected by the Chair and Vice Chair, shall carry out a strategic policy and organizational review planning process that includes—

(1) a review of the duties set forth in section 6432 of this title and the powers set forth in section 6432a of this title;

(2) the preparation of a written description of prioritized actions that the Commission is required to complete to fulfill the strategic plan required under subsection (d);

(3) a review of the scope, content, and timing of the Commission's annual report and any required changes; and

(4) a review of the personnel policies set forth in section 6432b of this title and any required changes to such policies.

(c) Unanimous agreement

(1) In general

To the greatest extent possible, the Chair, Vice Chair, and all of the Commissioners shall ensure that this section is implemented in a manner that results in unanimous agreement among the Commissioners with regard to—

(A) the strategic policy and organizational review planning process required under subsection (b); and

(B) the strategic plan required under subsection (d).

(2) Alternative approval process

If unanimous agreement under paragraph (1) is not possible, items for inclusion in the strategic plan may, at the joint discretion of the Chair and Vice Chair, be approved by an affirmative vote of—

(A) a majority of Commissioners appointed by an elected official from the political party of the President; and

(B) a majority of Commissioners appointed by an elected official from the political party that is not the party of the President.

(d) Submission of strategic plan

Not later than 180 days after December 20, 2019, and every 2 years thereafter, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Commission shall jointly submit, to the appropriate congressional committees, a written strategic plan that includes—

(1) a description of prioritized actions for the Commission for a period of time to be specified by the Commissioners;

(2) a description of any changes the Commission considers necessary with regard to the scope, content, and timing of the Commission's annual report;

(3) a description of any changes the Commission considers necessary with regard to personnel matters; and

(4) the Commission's funding requirements for the period covered by the strategic plan.

(e) Pending issues

The strategic plan required under subsection (d) may identify any issues or proposals that have not yet been resolved by the Commission.

(f) Implementation of personnel provisions and annual report

Notwithstanding section 1 6432b(a) and 6533(a) of this title, the Commission is authorized to implement provisions related to personnel and the Commission's annual report that are included in the strategic plan submitted pursuant to this section.

(g) Congressional oversight

Upon request, the Commission shall—

(1) make available for inspection any information and documents requested by the appropriate congressional committees; and

(2) respond to any requests to provide testimony before the appropriate congressional committees.

(Pub. L. 114–71, §4, Oct. 16, 2015, 129 Stat. 563; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §807, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3079.)

Codification

Section was enacted as part of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2015, and not as part of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 which comprises this chapter.

Amendments

2019—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 116–94, in introductory provisions, substituted "Not later than 180 days after December 20, 2019, and every 2 years thereafter" for "Not later than 180 days after October 16, 2015, and not less frequently than biennially thereafter".

1 So in original. Probably should be "sections".

§6434. Applicability of other laws

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

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §206, formerly §204, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2799; renumbered §206, Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(2), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401.)

References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in text, is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 206 of Pub. L. 105–292 was renumbered section 209 and is classified to section 6436 of this title.

§6435. Authorization of appropriations

(a) In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission $3,500,000 for each of the fiscal years 2019 through 2022 to carry out the provisions of this chapter and section 6433a of this title.

(b) Availability of funds

Amounts authorized to be appropriated under subsection (a) shall remain available until the earlier of—

(1) the date on which they have been expended; or

(2) the date on which the Commission is terminated under section 6436 of this title.

(c) Limitation

In each fiscal year, the Commission shall only be authorized to expend amounts that have been appropriated pursuant to subsection (a) if the Commission—

(1) complies with the requirements set forth in section 6433a of this title; and

(2) submits the annual financial report required under section 6435a(e) of this title to the appropriate congressional committees.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §207, formerly §205, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2800; renumbered §207 and amended Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(2), (4), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401, 403; Pub. L. 107–228, div. A, title VI, §681(e), Sept. 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 1409; Pub. L. 112–75, §4, Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1273; Pub. L. 113–271, §1(1), Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 2951; Pub. L. 114–71, §5, Oct. 16, 2015, 129 Stat. 565; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §808, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3079.)

References in Text

This chapter, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "this Act", meaning Pub. L. 105–292, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2787, known as the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 6401 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

2019—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 116–94 substituted "2019 through 2022" for "2016 to 2019".

2015Pub. L. 114–71 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section authorized appropriations for fiscal years 2012 through 2015.

2014—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 113–271 substituted "2015" for "2014".

2011—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 112–75 substituted "for each of the fiscal years 2012 through 2014" for "for the fiscal year 2003".

2002—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 107–228 inserted "for the fiscal year 2003" after "$3,000,000".

1999—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(4), substituted "to carry out the provisions of this subchapter" for "for each of the fiscal years 1999 and 2000 to carry out the provisions of this subchapter."

Effective Date of 2014 Amendment

Pub. L. 113–271, §2, Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 2951, provided that: "The amendments made by this Act [amending this section and section 6436 of this title] shall take effect as if enacted on December 10, 2014."

§6435a. Standards of conduct and disclosure

(a) Cooperation with nongovernmental organizations, the Department of State, and Congress

The Commission shall seek to effectively and freely cooperate with all entities engaged in the promotion of religious freedom abroad, governmental and nongovernmental, in the performance of the Commission's duties under this subchapter.

(b) Conflict of interest and antinepotism

(1) Member affiliations

Except as provided in paragraph (3), in order to ensure the independence and integrity of the Commission, the Commission may not compensate any nongovernmental agency, project, or person related to or affiliated with any member of the Commission, whether in that member's direct employ or not. Staff employed by the Commission may not serve in the employ of any nongovernmental agency, project, or person related to or affiliated with any member of the Commission while employed by the Commission.

(2) Staff compensation

Staff of the Commission may not receive compensation from any other source for work performed in carrying out the duties of the Commission while employed by the Commission.

(3) Exception

(A) In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), paragraph (1) shall not apply to payments made for items such as conference fees or the purchase of periodicals or other similar expenses, if such payments would not cause the aggregate value paid to any agency, project, or person for a fiscal year to exceed $250.

(B) Limitation

Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), the Commission shall not give special preference to any agency, project, or person related to or affiliated with any member of the Commission.

(4) Definitions

In this subsection, the term "affiliated" means the relationship between a member of the Commission and—

(A) an individual who holds the position of officer, trustee, partner, director, or employee of an agency, project, or person of which that member, or relative of that member of,1 the Commission is an officer, trustee, partner, director, or employee; or

(B) a nongovernmental agency or project of which that member, or a relative of that member, of the Commission is an officer, trustee, partner, director, or employee.

(c) Contract authority

(1) In general

Subject to the availability of appropriations, the Commission may contract with and compensate Government agencies or persons for the conduct of activities necessary to the discharge of its functions under this subchapter. Any such person shall be hired without interruption or loss of civil service or Foreign Service status or privilege. The Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under the authority of section 3109(b) of title 5, except that the Commission may not expend more than $250,000 in any fiscal year to procure such services.

(2) Expert study

In the case of a study requested under section 6474 2 of this title, the Commission may, subject to the availability of appropriations, contract with experts and shall provide the funds for such a study. The Commission shall not be required to provide the funds for that part of the study conducted by the Comptroller General of the United States.

(d) Gifts

(1) In general

In order to preserve its independence, the Commission may not accept, use, or dispose of gifts or donations of services or property. An individual Commissioner or employee of the Commission may not, in his or her capacity as a Commissioner or employee, knowingly accept, use or dispose of gifts or donations of services or property, unless he or she in good faith believes such gifts or donations to have a value of less than $50 and a cumulative value during a calendar year of less than $100.

(2) Exceptions

This subsection shall not apply to the following:

(A) Gifts provided on the basis of a personal friendship with a Commissioner or employee, unless the Commissioner or employee has reason to believe that the gift was provided because of the Commissioner's position and not because of the personal friendship.

(B) Gifts provided on the basis of a family relationship.

(C) The acceptance of training, invitations to attend or participate in conferences or such other events as are related to the conduct of the duties of the Commission, or food or refreshment associated with such activities.

(D) Items of nominal value or gifts of estimated value of $10 or less.

(E) De minimis gifts provided by a foreign leader or state, not exceeding a value of $260. Gifts believed by Commissioners to be in excess of $260, but which would create offense or embarrassment to the United States Government if refused, shall be accepted and turned over to the United States Government in accordance with the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966 and the rules and regulations governing such gifts provided to Members of Congress.

(F) Informational materials such as documents, books, videotapes, periodicals, or other forms of communications.

(G) Goods or services provided by any agency or component of the Government of the United States, including any commission established under the authority of such Government.

(e) Annual financial report

In addition to providing the reports required under section 6432 of this title, the Commission shall provide, each year no later than January 1, to the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Appropriations of the House of Representatives, and to the Committees on Foreign Relations and Appropriations of the Senate, a financial report detailing and identifying its expenditures for the preceding fiscal year.

(f) Commission records

The Commission shall comply with all of the records management requirements set forth in chapter 31 of title 44 (commonly referred to as the "Federal Records Act of 1950").

(g) Official email for commission business

When conducting any Commission business on electronic accounts, Commission Members and staff shall use official Commission electronic accounts.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §208, as added Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(5), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 403; amended Pub. L. 107–228, div. A, title VI, §681(f), Sept. 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 1409; Pub. L. 112–75, §5, Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1273; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §809, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3079.)

References in Text

Section 6474 of this title, referred to in subsec. (c)(2), was in the original a reference to section 605 of Pub. L. 105–292, which was renumbered section 606 by Pub. L. 114–281, title V, §501(1), Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1437.

The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966, referred to in subsec. (d)(2)(E), is Pub. L. 89–673, Oct. 15, 1966, 80 Stat. 952, as amended, which was classified principally to chapter 37 (§2621 et seq.) of this title. The Act was substantially repealed, except for provisions which are classified to section 2625 of this title, and with limited applicability, to section 2621 of this title, and was restated in section 7342 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees, by Pub. L. 90–83, §10(b), Sept. 11, 1967, 91 Stat. 224. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.

Amendments

2019—Subsecs. (f), (g). Pub. L. 116–94 added subsecs. (f) and (g).

2011—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 112–75, §5(1), substituted "$250,000" for "$100,000".

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 112–75, §5(2), substituted "Foreign Affairs" for "International Relations".

2002—Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 107–228 substituted "The Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under the authority of section 3109(b) of title 5, except that the Commission may not expend more than $100,000 in any fiscal year to procure such services." for "The Commission may not procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5 or under other contracting authority other than that allowed under this subchapter."

1 So in original. The comma probably should follow "member".

2 See References in Text note below.

§6436. Termination

The Commission shall terminate on September 30, 2022.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, §209, formerly §206, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2800; renumbered §209 and amended Pub. L. 106–55, §1(b)(2), (c), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401, 405; Pub. L. 107–228, div. A, title VI, §681(g), Sept. 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 1409; Pub. L. 112–75, §6, Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1273; Pub. L. 113–271, §1(2), Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 2951; Pub. L. 114–71, §3, Oct. 16, 2015, 129 Stat. 563; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §802, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3076.)

Amendments

2019Pub. L. 116–94 substituted "2022" for "2019".

2015Pub. L. 114–71 substituted "September 30, 2019" for "September 30, 2015".

2014Pub. L. 113–271 substituted "September 30, 2015" for "September 30, 2014".

2011Pub. L. 112–75 substituted "September 30, 2014" for "September 30, 2011".

2002Pub. L. 107–228 substituted "September 30, 2011" for "May 14, 2003".

1999Pub. L. 106–55, §1(c), which directed substitution of "on May 14, 2003" for "4 years after the initial appointment of all the Commissioners", was executed by making the substitution for "4 years after the initial appointment of all of the Commissioners", to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Effective Date of 2014 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 113–271 effective as if enacted on Dec. 10, 2014, see section 2 of Pub. L. 113–271, set out as a note under section 6435 of this title.

Extension of Termination Date

Pub. L. 112–74, div. I, title I, Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1173, provided in part: "That section 209 of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 U.S.C. 6436) shall be applied by substituting 'September 30, 2012' for 'September 30, 2011' ".