Washington, D.C. – Senators began debate on the Senate floor today of legislation that would put in place a modern system for controlling export of dual use items, items that can be used for both commercial and military purposes.
"I look forward to the President signing this bill. It is essential that the EAA (Export Administration Act) be reauthorized and reformed this year as the EAA expires on August 20th. Passage of S.149 will advance both our national security and economic objectives," said U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, an author of the legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. offered the motion to proceed to the bill, S. 149, the Export Administration Act of 2001, this morning, but Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. objected to the motion. He and other opponents argued the bill would loosen security measures.
Enzi, along with Senate Banking Committee Chair Phil Gramm and colleagues, Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., Tim Johnson, D-S.D. argued in favor of the bill and proceeding to the debate of the bill. They pointed out that the bill would improve national security and that it has the full support of President Bush and his national security team.
The bill has been temporarily set aside so the Senate can consider S. 1, the education package and the Senate's budget reconciliation package. Once the Senate has come to a decision on those two items, the Majority Leader has indicated he would file a cloture petition for debate on the EAA. The cloture petition would be filed on the motion to proceed to the EAA bill, not the bill itself. If there are objections to setting a time limit for debate on the bill another cloture petition to set those time limits may be necessary. It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture. Enzi is confident cloture will be invoked once a vote on a cloture petition is allowed to take place.
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee passed the EAA bill by a vote of 19-1 on March 22.
A statement from Enzi follows.
S.149, the Export Administration Act of 2001
April 26, 2001
Mr. President, I rise in support of S.149, the Export Administration Act of 2001. I thank my colleagues from the Banking Committee for their support and recognition that this legislation is needed to strengthen our export control system. I also appreciate the support of the Administration. President Bush and his team immediately realized that reauthorization of the EAA was vital to the national security and economic interests of this country. With a few changes made by the Banking Committee during markup, the bill received the written endorsement of President Bush's national security team, including the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Advisor. On March 28, 2001, President Bush called the Committee's action "good news," and urged the Senate "to pass it quickly."
S.149 is unfinished business left over from the 106th Congress. It builds upon S.1712, the EAA reform bill from the 106th Congress.
But first, I will begin by emphasizing the need to reauthorize the EAA of 1979. S.149 provides authority to control exports for commercial, or dual-use items. For six years the Congress had failed to update and reauthorize this important Act. Instead, our export control laws had been implemented by Executive Orders under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). IEEPA was not intended to allow the President to maintain export controls indefinitely without congressional authorization. Therefore, last fall the Congress briefly extended the Export Administration Act of 1979 through August of this year. That action provides the 107th Congress time to enact comprehensive export control legislation.
S.149 is needed to promote sound U.S. export control policy. It establishes a modern, effective framework, recognizing that items available in foreign or mass markets are not effectively controlled. Stronger controls over a few items should equal more effective controls.
I had the fortunate opportunity to co-chair and work with Congressman Cox, Congressman Berman and Senator Bingaman on the Study Group to Enhance Multilateral Export Controls for U.S. National Security. Together we released the Study Group's Final Report on Tuesday, April 24th. Mr. Cox referenced the fact that we need a common sense export control policy. He said that we should not make the mistake of confusing a more burdensome system with a more effective system. He went on to mention that the current export control system has "an instinct for the capillary rather than the jugular." In other words, the current system often has the tendency to put the same focus and expend the same amount of energy on the more trivial items, as opposed to the truly dangerous items.
I happen to agree with Mr. Cox. S.149 is structured in a way that will focus on the jugular, not the capillary. As everyone is aware, Mr. Cox chaired the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China. It investigated several export control-related problems concerning China and offered recommendations to improve our export control systems. He noted during his testimony before the Banking Committee last year that "we ought not to have export controls to pretend to make ourselves safe as a country. We ought to have export controls that work." That is what S.149 aims to do. It will make export controls work. It will make export controls effective.
The bill would establish a strong, but flexible export control framework that can adapt to our national security needs in today's globalized and uncertain world. Recent events tell us that as situations change, the Administration should be provided with the flexibility it needs to adapt to that change. S.149 does not lock the U.S. into a policy position toward any particular country or toward any particular item. It sets the framework which the Administration would carry out. The Congress would then have the appropriate oversight responsibilities.
The bill also provides the President with authority to control items beyond current law. Section 201(d) of the bill grants to the President special control authorities for cases involving national security and international terrorism, as well as international commitments made by the United States. Section 201(c) allows controls to be imposed based on the end-use or end-user of an item if it could contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I remind my colleagues that these two provisions could be used regardless of the foreign availability or mass-market status of the item.
Other national security protections are also included in the bill. For example, it requires that whenever items are to be taken off the list, the Secretary of Defense concur with the decision. In addition, country tiering would be made be the President. He will be the one to determine where a country is assigned to a tier for each controlled item or groups of items. The President is to take into consideration several risk factors, including the present and potential relationship of the country to the U.S., and the country's weapons of mass production capabilities and compliance with multilateral export control regimes. Additionally, it would establish tough new criminal and civil penalties for export control violations much greater than are in the current law. These penalties will actually deter potential violators, rather than be computed as a part of doing business.
The bill establishes a program to increase compliance with the freight forwarding firms. This will in turn allow enforcement to detect and interdict possible illegal shipments. It increases the overseas presence of enforcement agents who conduct the prelicense and post shipment checks.
A very important part of the bill is its emphasis on multilateral export controls. Many dramatic changes have occurred over the past decade that present additional challenges to the effective control of senstive technologies. The U.S. now is rarely the only producer of militarily-useful high tech products. The effects of globalization, such as increased flows of trade, foreign investment and international communications have contributed to the more widespread production and availability of high tech products. The threats are now different and more diffuse. Therefore, the bill urges the Administration to strengthen the existing multilateral export control regimes. Multilateral export controls are the most effective controls. The U.S. should exercise its leadership in this area now more than ever.
Our position of world leadership in stemming the transfer of weapons of mass destruction is compromised by our failure to enact a more permanent national legislation to authorize our export control program. Passage of S.149 will reaffirm U.S. leadership in the area of export controls. U.S. leadership in this area has been lacking in large part because of the Congress' failure to reform and reauthorize the EAA.
I look forward to the President signing this bill. It is essential that the EAA be reauthorized and reformed this year as the EAA expires on August 20th. Passage of S.149 will advance both our national security and economic objectives.
I yield my time.