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S. 2078 (114th): United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2015

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Oct 17, 2015.


(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The expanded summary of the Senate reported version is repeated here.)

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2015

This bill reauthorizes the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) through FY2019.

(Sec. 2) It expresses the sense of Congress that USCIRF: (1) was created to independently assess and accurately describe threats to religious freedom around the world; and (2) should ensure that U.S. efforts to advance religious freedom abroad are timely, appropriate to the circumstances, prudent, and effective.

(Sec. 3) The termination date of USCIRF is extended to September 30, 2019.

(Sec. 4) The Chair and Vice Chair of USCIRF must at least biennially carry out a strategic policy and organizational review and submit a strategic plan to Congress concerning: (1) prioritized actions for USCIRF, (2) any changes it considers necessary with regard to the scope, content, and timing of USCIRF's annual report; (3) any changes USCIRF considers necessary with regard to personnel matters; and (4) USCIRF's funding requirements.

If unanimous agreement is not possible, items for inclusion in the strategic plan may, at the joint discretion of the Chair and Vice Chair, be approved by: (1) a majority of Commissioners appointed by an elected official from the political party of the President, and (2) a majority of Commissioners appointed by an elected official from the political party that is not the party of the President.

The Vice Chair for such purposes must be appointed by an elected official from the political party that is different from the political party of the elected official who appointed the Chair.

USCIRF is authorized to implement provisions related to personnel and the annual report that are included in the strategic plan, notwithstanding USCIRF's annual recommendations on U.S. policy options and a current requirement that a decision to employ or terminate an Executive Director be made by an affirmative vote of at least six of USCIRF's nine members.

USCIRF, upon request, must provide testimony and make information available to Congress.

(Sec. 5) USCIRF is authorized to expend appropriated amounts only if it complies with this Act and submits its annual financial report identifying expenditures for the preceding fiscal year.