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H.R. 4640 (113th): Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2014


The text of the bill below is as of May 9, 2014 (Introduced).


I

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4640

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 9, 2014

(for himself, Mr. Salmon, Mr. Sires, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, and Mr. O’Rourke) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

A BILL

To establish the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2014 .

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2012 in the United States, an estimated 23,900,000 persons age 12 or older were current drug users. There were an estimated 1,600,000 users of cocaine, 440,000 users of methamphetamine, 335,000 users of heroin, 18,900,000 users of marijuana, and 6,800,000 non-medical users of prescription-type drugs.

(2)

On September 13, 2013, President Barack Obama identified 22 countries as major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries. Of these, 17 are located in the Western Hemisphere. They are The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

(3)

Nearly all cocaine consumed in the United States originates in the Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru and most of the heroin consumed in the United States originates in Colombia and Mexico. The cultivation, production and trafficking of cocaine and heroin generate violence, instability, and corruption.

(4)

In the transit countries of Central America, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and other Caribbean countries, drug trafficking is central to the growing strength of organized criminals to threaten local and national law enforcement, political institutions, citizen security, rule of law, and United States security and interests.

(5)

Drug trafficking-related violence continues unabated in Mexico. According to Government of Mexico estimates, some 70,000 people died in Mexico and 25,000 people disappeared as a result of drug trafficking and organized crime-related violence between December 2006 and December 2012. According to analysts, more than 11,500 more people died in Mexico in 2013 due to the violence.

(6)

Foreign Terrorist Organizations and their supporters in the Western Hemisphere, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Hezbollah, have used drug trafficking to finance their activities.

(7)

The United States obligated roughly $15,700,000,000 ($18,600,000,000 in constant 2012 dollars) for counternarcotics programs in Latin America and the Caribbean between 1980 and 2012.

3.

Establishment

There is established an independent commission to be known as the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission (in this Act referred to as the Commission).

4.

Duties

(a)

Review of illicit drug control policies

The Commission shall conduct a comprehensive review of United States foreign policy in the Western Hemisphere to reduce the illicit drug supply and drug abuse and reduce the damage associated with illicit drug markets and trafficking. The Commission shall also identify policy and program options to improve existing international counternarcotics policy. The review shall include the following topics:

(1)

An evaluation of United States-funded international illicit drug control programs in the Western Hemisphere, including drug interdiction, crop eradication, alternative development, drug production surveys, police and justice sector training, demand reduction, and strategies to target drug kingpins.

(2)

An evaluation of the impact of United States counternarcotics assistance programs in the Western Hemisphere, including the Colombia Strategic Development Initiative, the Merida Initiative, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative and the Central America Regional Security Initiative, in curbing drug production, drug trafficking, and drug-related violence and improving citizen security.

(3)

An evaluation of how the President’s annual determination of major drug-transit and major illicit drug producing countries pursuant to sections 490 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 ( 22 U.S.C. 2291j ) and section 706 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003 ( 22 U.S.C. 2291j–1 ) serves United States interests with respect to United States international illicit drug control policies.

(4)

An evaluation of whether the proper indicators of success are being used to evaluate United States international illicit drug control policy.

(5)

An evaluation of United States efforts to stop illicit proceeds from drug trafficking organizations from entering the United States financial system.

(6)

An evaluation of alternative drug policy models in the Western Hemisphere.

(7)

An evaluation of the impact of local drug consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean in promoting violence and insecurity.

(8)

Recommendations on how best to improve United States counternarcotics policies in the Western Hemisphere.

(b)

Coordination with governments, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations in the Western Hemisphere

In conducting the review required under subsection (a), the Commission is encouraged to consult with—

(1)

government, academic, and nongovernmental leaders, as well as leaders from international organizations, from throughout the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean; and

(2)

the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

(c)

Report

(1)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the first meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Secretary of State, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy a report that contains—

(A)

a detailed statement of the recommendations, findings, and conclusions of the Commission under subsection (a); and

(B)

summaries of the input and recommendations of the leaders and organizations with which the Commission consulted under subsection (b).

(2)

Public availability

The report required under this subsection shall be made available to the public.

5.

Membership

(a)

Number and appointment

The Commission shall be composed of ten members to be appointed as follows:

(1)

The majority leader and minority leader of the Senate shall each appoint 2 members.

(2)

The Speaker and the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint 2 members.

(3)

The President shall appoint 2 members.

(b)

Prohibition

(1)

In general

The Commission may not include Members of Congress or Federal, State, or local government officials.

(2)

Member of Congress

In this subsection, the term Member of Congress includes a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to the Congress.

(c)

Period of appointment

Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancies shall not affect the power and duties of the Commission, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(d)

Date

Members of the Commission shall be appointed not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(e)

Initial meeting and selection of chairperson

(1)

In general

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall hold an initial meeting to develop and implement a schedule for completion of the review and report required under section 4.

(2)

Chairperson

At the initial meeting, the Commission shall select a Chairperson from among its members.

(f)

Quorum

Six members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.

(g)

Travel expenses

Members shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of services for the Commission.

6.

Powers

(a)

Meetings

The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or a majority of its members.

(b)

Hearings

The Commission shall hold such hearings and undertake such other activities as the Commission determines necessary to carry out its duties.

(c)

Other resources

(1)

Documents, statistical data, and other such information

(A)

In general

The Commission shall have reasonable access to documents, statistical data, and other such information the Commission determines necessary to carry out its duties from the Library of Congress, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of State, and other agencies of the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government.

(B)

Obtaining information

The Chairperson of the Commission shall request the head of an agency described in subparagraph (A) for access to documents, statistical data, or other such information described in subparagraph (A) that is under the control of such agency in writing when necessary.

(2)

Office space and administrative support

The General Services Administration shall make office space available for day-to-day activities of the Commission and for scheduled meetings of the Commission. Upon request, the Administrator of General Services shall provide, on a reimbursable basis, such administrative support as the Commission requests to fulfill its duties.

(d)

Authority To use United States mails

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

(e)

Authority To contract

(1)

In general

Subject to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, the Commission is authorized to enter into contracts with Federal and State agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals for the conduct of activities necessary to the discharge of its duties under section 4.

(2)

Termination

A contract, lease, or other legal agreement entered into by the Commission may not extend beyond the date of termination of the Commission.

7.

Staff

(a)

Director

The Commission shall have a Director who shall be appointed by a majority vote of the Commission. The Director shall be paid at a rate not to exceed the rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule.

(b)

Staff

(1)

In general

With the approval of the Commission, the Director may appoint such personnel as the Director determines to be appropriate. Such personnel shall be paid at a rate not to exceed the rate of basic pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule.

(2)

Additional staff

The Commission may appoint and fix the compensation of such other personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its duties, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that no rate of pay fixed under this subsection may exceed the equivalent of that payable to a person occupying a position at level V of the Executive Schedule.

(c)

Experts and consultants

With the approval of the Commission, the Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(d)

Detail of government employees

Upon the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may detail, without reimbursement, any of the personnel of such agency to the Commission to assist in carrying out the duties of the Commission. Any such detail shall not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil service status or privileges of the personnel.

8.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There is authorized to be appropriated $2,000,000 to carry out this Act .

(b)

Availability

Amounts authorized to be appropriated under subsection (a) are authorized to remain available until expended.

9.

Offset

Section 102(a) of the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 ( 22 U.S.C. 8412(a) ; Public Law 111–73; 123 Stat. 2068) is amended by striking $1,500,000,000 and inserting $1,498,000,000 .

10.

Sunset

The Commission shall terminate on the date that is 60 days after the date on which the Commission submits its to Congress of its report pursuant to section 4(c).