Washington – Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, successfully moved two amendments with bipartisan support to the Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act for Fiscal Year 2016 considered Tuesday.
One amendment allows the State Department to waive visa renewal fees for families adopting children from abroad in exceptional circumstances when children are unable to immigrate to the United States in a timely manner.
The first amendment, which previously was introduced as a stand-alone bill, S. 1300, the Adoptive Families Relief Act, would immediately assist American families who have adopted children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has refused to issue exit permits to legally adopted children since September 2013. This suspension has affected more than 350 American families, including at least six in Wisconsin.
“Families waiting to be united with their adopted children face enough of a burden already from the political foot-dragging of the Congolese government,” said Senator Johnson. “There is no reason for our federal government to add hundreds of dollars of unnecessary costs in repeated visa renewal fees as the families and children wait. It is the least we can do, yet it means so much to waiting families.”
The other amendment requires the Department of State to evaluate the scope and impact of Russian propaganda. The amendment is an effort to provide Congress with a detailed analysis of Russian propaganda efforts against the United States and our allies. It reiterates that there must be a strategy to counter such propaganda. This amendment requires the secretary of state to submit a report (120 days after the act is enacted and then annually for three years) to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee that examines the use and impact of Russian propaganda, details the response by the U.S. and our allies to counter such propaganda, and then outlines a clear strategy for improving the effectiveness of counter propaganda programs.
Relief for adoptive families amendment can be found here.
Countering Russian propaganda amendment can be found here.