Introduced in House Passed House Introduced in Senate Passed Senate To President Became Law
02/12/2020          

Congressional Oversight of Sanctions Act

Date Version PDF TXT
02/12/2020 Introduced in House Open

            I 

116TH CONGRESS 
2D SESSION H. R. 5879 

To impose certain limits relating to the national emergency authorities of 
the President, and for other purposes. 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

FEBRUARY 12, 2020 
Ms. OMAR introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee 

on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation 
and Infrastructure, and Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined 
by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall 
within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned 

A BILL 
To impose certain limits relating to the national emergency 

authorities of the President, and for other purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-1

tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 2

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. 3

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Congressional Over-4

sight of Sanctions Act’’. 5

SEC. 2. FINDINGS. 6

Congress finds the following: 7

(1) Article I, section 8 of the United States 8

Constitution gives Congress the power ‘‘to regulate 9

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2 

•HR 5879 IH

Commerce with foreign Nations’’ as well as to ‘‘de-1

fine and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on 2

the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Na-3

tions’’. 4

(2) The House Committee on International Re-5

lations report (No. 95–459) on the International 6

Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 7

et seq.) states ‘‘that given the breadth of the au-8

thorities and their availability at the President’s dis-9

cretion upon a declaration of national emergency, 10

their exercise should be subject to various sub-11

stantive restrictions. The main one stems from a 12

recognition that emergencies are by their nature 13

rare and brief, and are not to be equated with nor-14

mal, ongoing problems’’. 15

(3) It further states, ‘‘A national emergency 16

should be declared and emergency authorities em-17

ployed only with respect to a specific set of cir-18

cumstances which constitute a real emergency, and 19

for no other purpose’’ and that ‘‘[t]he emergency 20

should be terminated in a timely manner when the 21

factual state of emergency is over and not continued 22

in effect for use in other circumstances. A state of 23

emergency should not be a normal state of affairs’’. 24

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3 

•HR 5879 IH

(4) Since 1977, Presidents have invoked au-1

thorities under the International Emergency Eco-2

nomic Powers Act with respect to 56 declarations of 3

national emergency. On average, these emergencies 4

last nearly a decade. 5

(5) As of August 2019, there are 31 ongoing 6

national emergencies involving the International 7

Emergency Economic Powers Act, the oldest of 8

which was put in place forty years ago. 9

(6) The average length of an emergency de-10

clared in the 1980s and invoking International 11

Emergency Economic Powers Act authorities was 12

four years. That average extended to 10 years for 13

emergencies declared in the 1990s and 12 years for 14

emergencies declared in the 2000s. 15

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS. 16

It is the sense of Congress that— 17

(1) successive Presidents from both parties have 18

used the authority granted by the International 19

Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 20

et seq.) and the National Emergencies Act (50 21

U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) to declare national emergencies 22

that do not meet the threshold of ‘‘unusual and ex-23

traordinary threat[s] to the national security and 24

foreign policy of the United States’’; and 25

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4 

•HR 5879 IH

(2) in order to restore Congress’ original intent 1

in enacting such laws, it is necessary to reclaim Con-2

gress’ constitutional power over the use of sanctions. 3

SEC. 4. CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL REQUIRED TO EXTEND 4

NATIONAL EMERGENCIES. 5

(a) AUTOMATIC TERMINATION.—Subsection (a) of 6

section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 7

1622) is amended— 8

(1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by 9

striking ‘‘if’’; 10

(2) in paragraph (1), by inserting ‘‘if’’ before 11

‘‘there is enacted’’; 12

(3) in paragraph (2), by inserting ‘‘if’’ before 13

‘‘the President issues’’; 14

(4) in the matter following paragraph (2)— 15

(A) by striking ‘‘clause (1)’’ and inserting 16

‘‘paragraph (2)’’; and 17

(B) by striking ‘‘clause (2)’’ and inserting 18

‘‘paragraph (3)’’; 19

(5) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2), as 20

so amended, as paragraphs (2) and (3), respectively; 21

and 22

(6) by inserting before paragraph (2), as so re-23

designated, the following new paragraph: 24

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5 

•HR 5879 IH

‘‘(1) on the date that is 60 days after the first 1

day on which either House of Congress is in session 2

following the date of the declaration, unless a joint 3

resolution to extend the emergency is enacted in ac-4

cordance with subsection (c);’’. 5

(b) JOINT RESOLUTION OF EXTENSION.— 6

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (b) of such sec-7

tion 202 is amended by striking ‘‘terminated’’ and 8

inserting ‘‘extended for a six-month period’’. 9

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Subsection 10

(c)(1) of such section 202 is amended by striking 11

‘‘terminate’’ and inserting ‘‘extend’’. 12

(c) PROHIBITION ON SUCCESSOR DECLARATIONS.— 13

Such section 202 is further amended by adding at the end 14

the following new subsection: 15

‘‘(d) If a joint resolution to extend the emergency is 16

not enacted in accordance with subsection (c) within 60 17

days after the first day on which either House of Congress 18

is in session following the date of the declaration, the 19

President may not declare a new national emergency 20

based on substantially similar facts during the 1-year pe-21

riod following such 60-day period.’’. 22

(d) ADDITIONAL CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.—Sec-23

tion 207(b) of the International Emergency Economic 24

Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1706(b)) is amended— 25

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6 

•HR 5879 IH

(1) by striking ‘‘concurrent resolution’’ each 1

place it appears and inserting ‘‘joint resolution’’; 2

and 3

(2) by inserting ‘‘or if the national emergency 4

terminates in accordance with subsection (a)(1) of 5

such section 202’’ before the period at the end. 6

SEC. 5. ADDITIONAL EXCEPTIONS TO GRANTS OF AUTHORI-7

TIES. 8

(a) SAFE HARBOR FOR MAINTENANCE OF INFRA-9

STRUCTURE.—Subsection (a) of section 203 of the Inter-10

national Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 11

1702) is amended by adding at the end the following new 12

paragraph: 13

‘‘(4) In implementing the authority under para-14

graph (1), the President shall allow for the expor-15

tation of equipment and material to a territory that 16

is subject to the control of a person otherwise sub-17

ject to sanctions under the laws of the United States 18

if the exporter certifies that such equipment or ma-19

terial is intended for use in the maintenance, in such 20

territory, of— 21

‘‘(A) civilian healthcare facilities; 22

‘‘(B) water infrastructure; 23

‘‘(C) civilian energy infrastructure; or 24

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7 

•HR 5879 IH

‘‘(D) primary or secondary educational fa-1

cilities.’’. 2

(b) EXCEPTION FOR SUPPORT INCIDENTAL TO COM-3

MUNICATION INTENDED TO REDUCE CONFLICT OR AL-4

LEVIATE SUFFERING.—Subsection (b) of such section 203 5

is amended— 6

(1) in paragraph (3), by striking ‘‘; or’’ and in-7

serting a semicolon; 8

(2) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at 9

the end and inserting ‘‘; or’’; and 10

(3) by adding at the end the following new 11

paragraph: 12

‘‘(5) any support provided to a foreign person 13

subject to sanctions under the laws of the United 14

States, including organizations designated as foreign 15

terrorist organizations under section 219(a)(1) of 16

the Immigration and Nationality Act, that is inci-17

dental to speech or communication with such person 18

for the purpose of— 19

‘‘(A) reducing or eliminating the frequency 20

and severity of violent conflict, including by fos-21

tering diplomatic solutions to violent conflict; or 22

‘‘(B) preventing or alleviating the suffering 23

of a civilian populations.’’. 24

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8 

•HR 5879 IH

SEC. 6. ADDITIONAL REPORTS TO CONGRESS. 1

(a) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (b) of section 204 of 2

the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 3

U.S.C. 1703) is amended— 4

(1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by 5

striking ‘‘to the Congress’’ and inserting ‘‘to the ap-6

propriate congressional committees’’; 7

(2) by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as 8

paragraphs (9) and (10), respectively; and 9

(3) by inserting after paragraph (3) the fol-10

lowing new paragraphs: 11

‘‘(4) the goals and outcomes expected to be 12

achieved through such actions; 13

‘‘(5) other tools considered to address the emer-14

gency, and the reason for choosing to respond to 15

such emergency through the imposition of sanctions; 16

‘‘(6) a list of other countries imposing sanctions 17

in accordance with the sanctions imposed by the 18

President or, if such sanctions are unilateral, an ex-19

planation for why no other country has imposed 20

such sanctions; 21

‘‘(7) the strategy of the President to provide 22

compliance guidance to entities in the private sector 23

(including financial institutions), humanitarian orga-24

nizations, and peacebuilding organizations; 25

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9 

•HR 5879 IH

‘‘(8) the criteria, if any, that a sanctioned per-1

son must meet before any sanctions imposed in the 2

exercise of such authority with respect to such per-3

son may be lifted;’’. 4

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Such section 204 is 5

further amended by adding at the end the following new 6

subsection: 7

‘‘(e) For purposes of this section, the term ‘appro-8

priate congressional committees’ means— 9

‘‘(1) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the 10

Committee on Financial Services of the House of 11

Representatives; and 12

‘‘(2) the Committee on Foreign Relations and 13

the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Af-14

fairs of the Senate.’’. 15

(c) REPORT ON TREATY OBLIGATIONS.—Not later 16

than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, 17

and annually thereafter, the Secretary of State and the 18

Secretary of the Treasury shall jointly submit to Congress 19

a report, which shall be submitted in unclassified form but 20

may include a classified annex, on the manner and extent 21

to which each action taken during the preceding 1-year 22

period using the authorities of the International Emer-23

gency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) is 24

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10 

•HR 5879 IH

in compliance with the treaty obligations of the United 1

States. 2

SEC. 7. REPORTS REQUIRED. 3

(a) PROJECTION REPORT.—Not later than 30 days 4

after the publication of any executive order, proclamation, 5

or other notice to declare a national emergency, the Comp-6

troller General of the United States shall submit to Con-7

gress a report that includes the following: 8

(1) The expected impact of such declaration on 9

the economic interests of the United States and of 10

allied countries. 11

(2) The expected humanitarian impact of such 12

declaration, including the extent to which organiza-13

tions or entities attempting to provide humanitarian 14

assistance face restricted access as a result of such 15

declaration. 16

(3) The expected impact of such declaration on 17

the economy of any country targeted by such dec-18

laration. 19

(4) The expected financial impact of such dec-20

laration on United States citizens and entities, in-21

cluding the impact on any such citizens or entities 22

who maintain accounts or assets in financial institu-23

tions subject to sanctions pursuant to such declara-24

tion. 25

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11 

•HR 5879 IH

(b) IMPACT REPORT.—Not later than 1 year after the 1

publication of an executive order, proclamation, or other 2

notice described in subsection (a), the Comptroller General 3

shall submit to Congress an updated report that includes 4

the assessment of the Comptroller General with respect 5

to the actual impact of the declaration of such national 6

emergency on each of the interests described in para-7

graphs (1) through (3) of subsection (a). 8

(c) CONSULTATIONS REQUIRED.—In preparing the 9

report required by subsection (b), the Comptroller General 10

shall consult with relevant nongovernmental organizations 11

working in areas affected by the applicable declaration, in-12

cluding organizations engaged in the provision of humani-13

tarian assistance. 14

(d) GOALS AND OUTCOMES REPORT.—Not later than 15

1 year after the publication of an executive order, procla-16

mation, or other notice described in subsection (a), the 17

President shall submit to Congress a report that sets 18

forth, with respect to each goal and outcome described 19

pursuant to section 204(b)(3) of the International Emer-20

gency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1703(b)(4))(as 21

added by section 6 of this Act), the manner and extent 22

to which such goal or outcome has been achieved through 23

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12 

•HR 5879 IH

the sanctions imposed pursuant to the declaration of such 1

national emergency. 2

Æ 

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Picture Name From Date Type
Ilhan Omar D-MN 02/12/2020 Sponsor
Rashida Tlaib D-MI 03/03/2020 Cosponsor
Date Branch Action
02/13/2020 President Referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.Action By: Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
02/12/2020 President Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.Action By: House of Representatives
02/12/2020 President Introduced in HouseAction By: House of Representatives
Summary
Congress - Bill Number Major Title
Branch Vote Date Yes No Not Voting
Wiki






Bill TEXT Points.
This Bill has been listed with the following Subjects from Texts:
Art
FindingsCongress finds the following:(1)Article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations as well as to define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations

Commerce
FindingsCongress finds the following:(1)Article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations as well as to define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations

House of Representatives
House of Representatives 2020-02-12 text/xml EN Pursuant to Title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code, this file is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain

Immigration
(b)Exception for support incidental to communication intended To reduce conflict or alleviate sufferingSubsection (b) of such section 203 is amended—(1)in paragraph (3), by striking ; or and inserting a semicolon;(2)in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; or; and(3)by adding at the end the following new paragraph:(5)any support provided to a foreign person subject to sanctions under the laws of the United States, including organizations designated as foreign terrorist


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