Foreign Affairs Committee Adopts Two Griffin Amendments

Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) offered two amendments to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (H.R. 2583), which were adopted by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 Griffin’s first amendment saves U.S. taxpayers $1.5 million in FY 2012 by eliminating funding to the Trilateral Assistance Program, which gives U.S. funds to South Africa for them to use in aiding other countries.  

 “With our staggering debt of $14.3 trillion, we can no longer afford to ignore economic reality here at home by subsidizing South Africa’s aid to other countries,” Griffin said.  “If we want to provide aid to other countries, we should do so directly.  Using the government of South Africa as a pass-through for foreign assistance, courtesy of American taxpayers, diminishes the public diplomacy value of our assistance and limits our ability to conduct oversight over how our money is spent.”

 Griffin’s second amendment addresses President Obama’s proposed Executive Order, which would require businesses seeking to contract with the State Department to disclose the political contributions of their employees, directors, officers, and subsidiaries.  Given that current law already bars contractors from making political contributions during the negotiation and performance of a contract, many have questioned the intent of this order. 

 “In effect, the President’s Executive Order would create a political ‘litmus test’ for businesses wanting to do work with the government.  My amendment prevents the President from implementing his plan within the State Department and politicizing the contracting process.  I am glad it received bipartisan support,” Griffin said.

 Similar amendments focusing on other Departments have been adopted by the full House on four occasions with bipartisan support. 

 The Foreign Relations Authorization Act passed the committee and awaits further consideration on the House floor.