Val Demings on Foreign Policy
Congressional Summary: HR 3326: World Bank Accountability Act: Requires withholding 15% of appropriation if countries borrowing from the World Bank's International Development Association are not implementing the UN Security Council resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea. Withholds an additional 15% if the World Bank approved a loan to a country designated by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Statement in support by Rep. French Hill (R-AR-2): The World Bank's extravagant and unaccountable spending practices have been in conflict with the values of Americans for far too long. This bill helps put an end to sending hard-earned American dollars to despots and corrupt regimes. [We should instead] see these funds used how they were truly intended, which is to help lift individuals out of poverty and put them on the pathway to success.
Statement in opposition by IssueVoter.org: Opponents say that withholding funds may undercut the credibility and leverage the World Bank has to get reforms enacted and implemented. "America's leadership at the World Bank is 'one of the major tools in our soft power arsenal'". If the U.S. cuts obligations too much, it will cede that power.
Statement in opposition by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6) on Medium.comJan 22, 2018: H.R. 3326 is taking a hammer approach to a multilateral organization that provides support for millions of people in the world's most impoverished countries. It is also concerning that this legislation is being considered at a time when the Trump Administration is actively seeking to back away from any and all international organizations. Additionally, the World Bank is already implementing a series of reforms.
Legislative outcome: Jan. 17, 2018 House Bill Passed 237-184 (Roll no. 24); bill died in Senate committee.
Legislative summary: The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act:
Statement in support by Sen. Cruz: Sen. Ted Cruz joined Sen. Marco Rubio in introducing H.R.6210 to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the use of force labor. "The Chinese Communist Party has transformed Xinjiang into a technological dystopia and a human rights horror," Sen. Cruz said. "Time and time again from the CCP we see the complete and total disregard for human life and values.."
Statement in opposition in Washington Post: Researchers estimate the Chinese government has placed more than 1 million people into internment camps in Xinjiang. While US law already prevents companies from importing goods that were made using forced labor, the law is seldom enforced. Apple is heavily dependent on Chinese manufacturing; alleged forced Uighur labor has been used in Apple's supply chain. A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute alleged four instances in which labor from the Xinjiang region has been connected to Apple's supply chain: In 2017, the Chinese government transferred between 1,000 and 2,000 Uighurs to work at a factory owned by O-Film, which helps make selfie cameras for Apple's iPhone.
Legislative outcome: Passed House 406 3-22,(2/3 required) Roll no. 196 on 09/22/2020.
For 2019, Congress appropriated and authorized $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine: $250 million in funds administered by DOD and $141 million in funds administered by the State Department. On June 18, DOD issued a press release announcing its intention to provide $250 million in taxpayer-funded security assistance to Ukraine following the certification that all legitimate conditions on the aid, including anti-corruption reforms, had been met. Shortly after this announcement, however, both the OMB and DOD received inquiries from the President related to the funds. At that time, and throughout the next few months, support for Ukraine security assistance was overwhelming and unanimous among all of the relevant agencies and within Congress.
By July 25, the date of President Trump's call with President Zelensky, DOD was also receiving inquiries from Ukrainian officials about the status of the security assistance. Nevertheless, President Trump continued to withhold the funding to Ukraine without explanation, against the interests of U.S. national security, and over the objections of these career experts
By early September, President Zelensky was ready to make a public announcement of the two investigations [into Burisma and the Bidens] to secure a White House meeting and the military assistance his country desperately needed. He proceeded to book an interview on CNN during which he could make such an announcement, but other events soon intervened. On September 9, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committees on Oversight and Reform, and the Committee on Foreign Affairs announced an investigation into the scheme by President Trump and his personal attorney, Mr. Giuliani "to improperly pressure the Ukrainian government to assist the President's bid for reelection."
On September 11, in the face of growing public and Congressional scrutiny, President Trump lifted the hold on security assistance to Ukraine.
The [Congressional report on Impeachment] examines the facts underlying the first charge against Pres. Trump: abuse of power. On July 25, 2019, when he spoke by telephone to Pres. Zelensky of Ukraine, Pres.Trump asked Pres. Zelensky to "do us a favor, though." He asked Ukraine to announce two bogus investigations: one into former Vice President Joseph Biden, then his leading opponent in the 2020 election, and another to advance a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked our elections in 2016. One investigation was designed to help him gain an advantage in the 2020 election. The other was intended to help Pres. Trump conceal the truth about the 2016 election. Neither investigation was supported by the evidence or premised on any legitimate national security or foreign policy interest. After the call with Pres. Zelensky, Pres. Trump ratcheted up the pressure. He continued to dangle the offer of the Oval Office meeting and to withhold the $391 million in military aid.
To the founding generation, abuse of power was a specific, well-defined offense. It occurs when a President exercises the powers of his office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring the national interest. The evidence shows that Pres. Trump leveraged his office to pressure Ukraine for a personal favor.
This unquestionably constitutes an impeachable offense, but the first article of impeachment also identifies two aggravating factors. When Pres. Trump asked Pres. Zelensky for a favor, he did so at the expense of both our national security--America has a vital national security interest in countering Russian aggression--and our election integrity--American democracy above all rests upon elections that are free and fair. When the President demands that a foreign government announce investigations targeting his domestic political rival, he corrupts our elections. To the Founders, this kind of corruption was especially pernicious, and plainly merited impeachment.
President Trump used the vast powers of his office as President to pressure Ukraine into announcing these investigations. President Trump illegally withheld $391 million in taxpayer-funded military assistance to Ukraine that Congress had appropriated for expenditure in fiscal year 2019.
That assistance was a critical part of long-running bipartisan efforts to advance the security interests of the United States by ensuring that Ukraine is properly equipped to defend itself against Russian aggression. Every relevant Executive Branch agency agreed that continued American support for Ukraine was in America's national security interests, but President Trump ignored that view and personally ordered the assistance held back, even after serious concerns--now confirmed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)--were raised within his Administration about the legality of withholding funding that Congress had already appropriated.
President Trump released the funding only after he got caught trying to use the security assistance as leverage to obtain foreign interference in his reelection campaign. When news of his scheme to withhold the funding broke, and shortly after investigative committees in the House opened an investigation, President Trump relented and released the aid.
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