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H.R. 923 (117th): To support the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Georgia, and for other purposes.


The text of the bill below is as of Apr 27, 2022 (Passed the House).


I

117th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 923

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

AN ACT

To support the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Georgia, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title and table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Georgia Support Act.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.

Sec. 2. United States policy.

Title I—Assistance Provisions

Sec. 101. United States-Georgia security assistance.

Sec. 102. Report on United States democracy and governance assistance to Georgia.

Sec. 103. United States cybersecurity cooperation with Georgia.

Sec. 104. Enhanced assistance to combat Russian disinformation and propaganda.

Title II—Sanctions Provisions

Sec. 201. Imposition of sanctions on persons complicit in or responsible for serious human rights abuses, including right to life in Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia occupied by Russia.

Title III—Determination of Budgetary Effects

Sec. 301. Determination of budgetary effects.

2.

United States policy

It is the policy of the United States to—

(1)

support continued development of democratic values in the Republic of Georgia, including free and fair elections, an independent and accountable judiciary, public sector transparency and accountability, the rule of law, and anticorruption efforts;

(2)

support Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders;

(3)

support Georgia’s capacity to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity from further Russian aggression or encroachment on Georgian territory in light of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine;

(4)

support the right of the people of Georgia to freely determine their future and make independent and sovereign choices on foreign and security policy, including regarding their country’s relationship with other nations and international organizations, without interference, intimidation, or coercion by other countries;

(5)

support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic and European integration;

(6)

not recognize territorial changes effected by force, including the illegal invasions and occupations of Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation;

(7)

condemn ongoing detentions, kidnappings, and other human rights violations committed in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia forcibly occupied by the Russian Federation, including the recent killings of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, Davit Basharuli, and others in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia; and

(8)

support peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia, including by urging the Russian Federation to fully implement the European Union-mediated ceasefire agreement of August 12, 2008, and supporting the establishment of international security mechanisms in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees, all of which are important for lasting peace and security on the ground.

I

Assistance Provisions

101.

United States-Georgia security assistance

(a)

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

In fiscal year 2021, the United States provided Georgia with $2,200,000 in assistance under chapter 5 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2347 et seq.; relating to international military education and training) and $35,000,000 in assistance under section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2763; relating to the Foreign Military Financing Program) and in 2021 announced the Georgia Defense and Deterrence Enhancement Initiative (GDDEI) to enable further modernization of the Georgian Ministry of Defense and the Georgian Defense Forces.

(2)

Georgia has been a longstanding NATO-aspirant country.

(3)

Georgia has contributed substantially to Euro-Atlantic peace and security through participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Resolute Support Missions in Afghanistan as one of the largest troop contributors.

(b)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that United States assistance to the Republic of Georgia under chapter 5 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act should be increased.

(c)

Statement of policy

It shall be the policy of the United States, in consultation with the Republic of Georgia, to enhance Georgia’s deterrence, resilience, and self-defense, including through appropriate assistance to improve the capabilities of Georgia’s armed forces.

(d)

Review of security assistance to Georgia

(1)

In general

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other appropriate United States departments and agencies, shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report reviewing United States security assistance to the Republic of Georgia.

(2)

Components

The report required under paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A)

An assessment of needed security assistance to improve Georgia’s capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity from further invasion of Georgian territory by Russian forces, including an assessment of need for anti-armor, anti-air, and anti-tank weapons, as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.

(B)

A detailed review of all United States security assistance to Georgia from fiscal year 2008 to the date of the submission of such report.

(C)

An assessment of threats to Georgian independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, including an assessment of changes to the force posture or intent of Russian forces occupying Georgian territory.

(D)

An assessment of Georgia’s capabilities to defend itself, including a five-year strategy to enhance Georgia’s deterrence, resilience, and self-defense capabilities that incorporates plans to address the capability gaps subject to the assessment described in subparagraph (A).

(3)

Form

The report required under paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

102.

Report on United States democracy and governance assistance to Georgia

(a)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other appropriate Federal departments and agencies as appropriate, shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on United States democracy and governance assistance to the Republic of Georgia.

(b)

Components

The report required by subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1)

A description of goals for United States democracy and governance assistance to Georgia and its democratic institutions, including how such assistance is supporting Georgia’s stated goals for European integration.

(2)

An assessment of the impact of United States democracy and governance assistance to Georgia since fiscal year 2008, including challenges to achieving the goals described in paragraph (1).

(3)

An assessment of Georgia’s progress relating to freedom of the press and support for independent media, including steps to hold accountable those responsible for attacks on independent media and on LGBTQ rights activists on July 5, 2021, in Tbilisi.

(4)

An assessment of Georgia’s progress on strengthening its democratic institutions, including through electoral and judicial reforms necessary to build public confidence.

(5)

A description of barriers and challenges to United States investment in the Georgian economy, as well as an assessment of how support from the United States International Development Finance Corporation in Georgia could help create a better developed and more transparent investment climate.

(c)

Form

The report required by subsection (a) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

103.

United States cybersecurity cooperation with Georgia

(a)

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State should take the following actions, commensurate with United States interests, to assist the Repubic of Georgia to improve its cybersecurity:

(1)

Provide Georgia such support as may be necessary to secure government computer networks from malicious cyber intrusions, particularly such networks that defend the critical infrastructure of Georgia.

(2)

Provide Georgia support in reducing reliance on Russian information and communications technology.

(3)

Assist Georgia to build its capacity, expand cybersecurity information sharing, and cooperate on international cyberspace efforts.

(b)

Report

(1)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on United States cybersecurity cooperation with the Republic of Georgia.

(2)

Matters to be included

The report required by paragraph (1) shall include information relating to the following:

(A)

United States efforts to strengthen Georgia’s ability to prevent, mitigate, and respond to cyber incidents, including through training, education, technical assistance, capacity building, and cybersecurity risk management strategies.

(B)

The potential for new areas of collaboration and mutual assistance between the United States and Georgia to address shared cyber challenges, including cybercrime, critical infrastructure protection, and resilience against automated, distributed threats.

(C)

NATO’s efforts to help Georgia develop technical capabilities to counter cyber threats.

104.

Enhanced assistance to combat Russian disinformation and propaganda

(a)

Statement of policy

It shall be the policy of the United States to enhance the capabilities of the Republic of Georgia to combat Russian disinformation and propaganda campaigns intended to undermine the sovereignty and democratic institutions of Georgia, while promoting the freedom of the press.

(b)

Required strategy

(1)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other appropriate United States departments and agencies, shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report outlining a strategy to implement the policy described in subsection (a).

(2)

Components

The report required under paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A)

A detailed assessment of Russian disinformation and propaganda efforts across all media platforms targeting the Republic of Georgia.

(B)

An assessment of Georgia’s capabilities to deter and combat such Russian efforts and to support the freedom of the press.

(C)

A detailed strategy coordinated across all relevant United States departments and agencies to enhance Georgia’s capabilities to deter and combat such Russian efforts.

(3)

Form

The report required by paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form but may contain a classified annex.

II

Sanctions Provisions

201.

Imposition of sanctions on persons complicit in or responsible for serious human rights abuses, including right to life in Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia occupied by Russia

(a)

In general

The President shall impose on a foreign person the sanctions described in subsection (b) if the President determines that such foreign person, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act—

(1)

is responsible for, complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing the commission of serious human rights abuses in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia forcibly occupied by the Russian Federation;

(2)

is materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing significant financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, a foreign person described in paragraph (1); or

(3)

is owned or controlled by a foreign person, or is acting on behalf of a foreign person, described in paragraph (1).

(b)

Sanctions described

The sanctions described in this subsection are the following:

(1)

Asset blocking

The exercise of all powers granted to the President by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) to the extent necessary to block and prohibit all transactions in all property and interests in property of a person determined by the President to be a person described in subsection (a) if such property and interests in property are in the United States, come within the United States, or are or come within the possession or control of a United States person, including by taking any of the actions described in paragraph (1) of section 203(a) of such Act (50 U.S.C. 1702(a)).

(2)

Inadmissibility of certain individuals

(A)

Ineligibility for visas and admission to the United States

A person determined by the President to be a person described in subsection (a) is—

(i)

inadmissible to the United States;

(ii)

ineligible to receive a visa or other documentation to enter the United States; and

(iii)

otherwise ineligible to be admitted or paroled into the United States or to receive any other benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).

(B)

Current visas revoked

A person determined by the President to be a person described in subsection (a) is subject to the following:

(i)

Revocation of any visa or other entry documentation regardless of when the visa or other entry documentation is or was issued.

(ii)

A revocation under clause (i) shall—

(I)

take effect immediately; and

(II)

automatically cancel any other valid visa or entry documentation that is in the foreign person’s possession.

(C)

Exception to comply with United Nations Headquarters Agreement and law enforcement objectives

Sanctions under subparagraph (A) shall not apply to an individual if admitting such individual into the United States would further important law enforcement objectives or is necessary to permit the United States to comply with the Agreement regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations, signed at Lake Success June 26, 1947, and entered into force November 21, 1947, between the United Nations and the United States, or other applicable international obligations of the United States.

(c)

Waiver

The President may waive the application of sanctions under subsection (b) with respect to a person if the President determines that such a waiver is important to the national interests of the United States.

(d)

Implementation; penalties

(1)

Implementation

The President may exercise all authorities provided to the President under sections 203 and 205 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1702 and 1704) to carry out subsection (b)(1).

(2)

Penalties

A person that violates, attempts to violate, conspires to violate, or causes a violation of subsection (b)(1) or any regulation, license, or order issued to carry out such subsection shall be subject to the penalties specified in subsections (b) and (c) of section 206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1705) to the same extent as a person that commits an unlawful act described in subsection (a) of such section.

(e)

Report required

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and at least once every 180 days thereafter for a period not to exceed two years, the President, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, shall transmit to Congress a detailed report with respect to persons that have been determined to have engaged in activities described in subsection (a).

(f)

Exception relating to importation of goods

(1)

In general

The authorities and requirements to impose sanctions under this title shall not include the authority or requirement to impose sanctions on the importation of goods.

(2)

Good defined

In this subsection, the term good means any article, natural or man-made substance, material, supply or manufactured product, including inspection and test equipment and excluding technical data.

III

Determination of Budgetary Effects

301.

Determination of budgetary effects

The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by reference to the latest statement titled Budgetary Effects of PAYGO Legislation for this Act, submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, provided that such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.

Passed the House of Representatives April 27, 2022.

Cheryl L. Johnson,

Clerk.