Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Passes Provision Requiring U.S. Report on Humanitarian Impact of U.S. Sanctions on Other Countries

July 21, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DC—Yesterday, the House passed an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) that would require an initial and annual report to Congress from the Administration reporting the humanitarian impact of U.S. sanctions. There is currently no assessment within the U.S. government to determine the impact of U.S. sanctions on other countries. The reporting requirements in this provision will examine and report the humanitarian impact U.S. sanctions have had on the people of countries subject to comprehensive sanctions. The amendment passed as part of a group of amendments to the bill by a vote of 336-71 and was part of the complete bill that passed the House today.
These reports would be required on all existing comprehensive sanctions imposed on foreign governments by the U.S., as well as any new sanctions of this nature the Administration wishes to impose. An updated report is required annually.
“Too often U.S. sanctions are levied against another country in the attempt to ‘punish’ that country’s leader without consideration of what the real impact of those sanctions are. In reality, these sanctions are like a modern-day siege, most impacting the sanctioned country’s citizens, limiting their supply of food, water, medicine and basic supplies they need to survive, resulting in great sickness, suffering, and death. Meanwhile, the sanctioned country’s leader is often left unaffected,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “There is currently no assessment or accountability for our country’s leaders on the humanitarian disasters caused by these sanctions. My provision included in the NDAA changes that, by requiring an initial assessment followed by annual reports of the humanitarian impact of U.S. sanctions on other nations.”
“I commend Rep. Gabbard for working in a bipartisan fashion to mandate, for the first time, official reports on the harm caused by broad-based sanctions,” said Erik Sperling, Executive Director of Just Foreign Policy. “It is past time that the American people and policymakers have the basic information about the impact of our sanctions regimes on the tens of millions of people who have never even allegedly done anything against US interests. Grassroots humanitarian activists around the country will be mobilizing and contacting their representatives to ensure this provision is signed into law.”
“Representative Tulsi Gabbard’s NDAA amendment is a very important first step toward developing Congressional oversight around the use of broad economic sanctions. It will also help shine a light on the deadly impact of sanctions on innocent populations. Over the years, the U.S. government has imposed dozens of economic sanctions without ever having to publicly disclose the impact that these measures have on the economies and humanitarian situations of targeted countries. We are aware of some of the dire impact of sanctions thanks to independent studies that have shown how disease, malnutrition and mortality rates increase significantly in countries targeted by sanctions; but the U.S. government has never officially recognized this and other ‘collateral damage’ caused by sanctions. In addition, time and time again the U.S. president has ordered sanctions without ever having to explain what foreign policy goals the government expects to achieve or to report on whether any of these goals are actually being met,” said Alexander Main, Director of International Policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “Rep. Gabbard’s amendment helps correct this gaping lack of accountability around the use of sanctions and will help raise awareness around the lethal and often counterproductive effects of sanctions.”
Background: The adopted amendment requires the President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of the Commerce, USAID Administrator, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to report to Congress on the humanitarian impact of any existing or proposed new comprehensive sanctions. The Administration is also required to provide an annual update report in this regard.
Last year, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard expressed concern that sanctions may be undermining U.S. national security by broadly impacting the general population, inflaming regional tensions, and harming U.S. allies.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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