Legislation: Relevant text from H.R. 2134: "Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009," as passed by the House, December 8, 2009.
HR 2134 EH
- Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
- This Act may be cited as the `Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Act of 2009'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
- Congress finds the following:
- (1) According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2008 in the United States, there were an estimated 25,768,000 users of marijuana, 5,255,000 users of cocaine, 850,000 users of methamphetamine, and 453,000 users of heroin.
- (2) Nearly 100 percent of the United States cocaine supply originates in the Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru and over 90 percent of the United States heroin supply originates in Colombia and Mexico.
- (3) In those countries, the cultivation, production and trafficking of cocaine and heroin generate violence, instability and corruption.
- (4) In the transit countries of Central America, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Haiti, and other Caribbean countries, drug trafficking is central to the growing strength of organized criminals to threaten local and national law enforcement, political institutions, citizen security, rule of law, and United States security and interests.
- (5) Drug-related violence is on the rise in Mexico and along the United States-Mexico border. 5,661 people died in Mexico in 2008 alone as a result of drug-related violence. This is more than double the 2007 total of 2,773.
- (6) According to the Department of State's June 2009 Trafficking in Persons report, organized criminal networks in Mexico also `traffic Mexican women and girls into the United States for commercial sexual exploitation'.
- (7) Extremist groups and their supporters in the Western Hemisphere, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Hezbollah, often use drug trafficking to finance terrorist activities.
- (8) From 1980-2008, United States counternarcotics assistance from the State and Defense Departments to Latin America and the Caribbean totaled about $11,300,000,000.
SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF WESTERN HEMISPHERE DRUG POLICY COMMISSION.
- There is established an independent commission to be known as the `Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission' (in this Act referred to as the `Commission').
SEC. 4. PURPOSE.
- The Commission shall review and evaluate United States policy regarding illicit drug supply reduction and interdiction, with particular emphasis on international drug policies and programs directed toward the countries of the Western Hemisphere, along with foreign and domestic demand reduction policies and programs. The Commission shall identify policy and program options to improve existing international and domestic counternarcotics policy.
SEC. 5. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.
- (a) Review of Illicit Drug Supply Reduction and Demand Reduction Policies- The Commission shall conduct a comprehensive review of United States policy regarding illicit drug supply reduction, interdiction, and demand reduction policies and shall, at a minimum, address the following topics:
- (1) An assessment of United States international illicit drug control policies in the Western Hemisphere.
- (2) An assessment of drug interdiction efforts, crop eradication programs, and the promotion of economic development alternatives to illicit drugs.
- (3) The impact of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI), the Merida Initiative, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, and other programs in curbing drug production, drug trafficking, and drug-related violence in the Western Hemisphere.
- (4) An assessment of how to better deploy and employ available technology to target major drug cartels.
- (5) An assessment of efforts to curb the trafficking of chemical precursors for illicit drugs.
- (6) An assessment of how the United States drug certification process serves United States interests with respect to United States international illicit drug control policies.
- (7) An assessment of the nature and extent of the United States population's demand for illicit drugs.
- (8) An assessment of United States drug prevention and treatment programs, including anti-drug coalitions, drug courts, and programs aimed at preventing recidivism.
- (9) An assessment of the extent to which the consumption of illicit drugs in the United States is driven by individuals addicted to or abusive of illicit drugs, and the most effective experiences in the United States and throughout the world in treating those individuals and reducing the damage to themselves and to society.
- (10) Recommendations on how best to improve United States policies aimed at reducing the supply of and demand for illicit drugs.
- (11) Assessing the value of supporting relevant government entities and nongovernmental institutions in other countries of the Western Hemisphere in promoting the reduction of supply of and demand for illicit drugs.
- (12) An assessment of whether the proper indicators of success are being used in United States illicit drug control policy.
- (b) Coordination With Governments, International Organizations, and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Western Hemisphere- In conducting the review required under subsection (a), the Commission shall consult with--
- (1) government, academic, and nongovernmental leaders, as well as leaders from international organizations, from throughout the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean; and
- (2) the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) to examine what changes would increase its effectiveness.
- (c) Report-
- (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 12 months after the first meeting of the Commission, the Commission shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions of the Senate, the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) a report that contains a detailed statement of the recommendations, findings, and conclusions of the Commission, including summaries of the input and recommendations of the leaders and organizations with which is consulted under subsection (b).
- (2) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The report required under this subsection shall be made available to the public.
SEC. 6. MEMBERSHIP.
- (a) Number and Appointment- The Commission shall be composed of ten members, to be appointed as follows:
- (1) The majority leader and minority leader of the Senate shall each appoint two members.
- (2) The Speaker and the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint two members.
- (3) The President shall appoint two members.
- (b) Appointments- The Commission may not include Members of Congress or other currently elected Federal, State, or local government officials.
- (c) Period of Appointment- Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission. Any vacancies shall not affect the power and duties of the Commission, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
- (d) Date- Members of the Commission shall be appointed not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
- (e) Initial Meeting and Selection of Chairperson- Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall hold an initial meeting to develop and implement a schedule for completion of the review and report required under section 5. At the initial meeting, the Commission shall select a Chairperson from among its members.
- (f) Quorum- Six members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum.
- (g) Travel Expenses- Members shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of services for the Commission.
SEC. 7. POWERS.
- (a) Meetings- The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or a majority of its members.
- (b) Hearings- The Commission may hold such hearings and undertake such other activities as the Commission determines necessary to carry out its duties.
- (c) Other Resources- The Commission shall have reasonable access to documents, statistical data, and other such information the Commission determines necessary to carry out its duties from the Library of Congress, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Defense (including the United States Southern Command), and other agencies of the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government. The Chairperson of the Commission shall make requests for such access in writing when necessary. The General Services Administration (GSA) shall make office space available for day-to-day Commission activities and for scheduled Commission meetings. Upon request, the Administrator of General Services shall provide, on a reimbursable basis, such administrative support as the Commission requests to fulfill its duties.
- (d) Authority to Use the United States Mails- The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.
- (e) Authority to Contract- Subject to the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, the Commission is authorized to enter into contracts with Federal and State agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals for the conduct of activities necessary to the discharge of its duties and responsibilities. A contract, lease, or other legal agreement entered into by the Commission may not extend beyond the date of termination of the Commission.
SEC. 8. STAFF.
- (a) Executive Director- The Commission shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director. The Executive Director and such staff as is needed shall be paid at a rate not more than the rate of pay for level IV of the Executive Schedule.
- (b) Staff Appointment- With the approval of the Commission, the Executive Director may appoint such personnel as the Executive Director determines to be appropriate. The Commission may appoint and fix the compensation of such other personnel as may be necessary to enable the Commission to carry out its duties, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of such title relating to classification and General Schedule pay rates, except that no rate of pay fixed under this subsection may exceed the equivalent of that payable to a person occupying a position at level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
- (c) Experts and Consultants- With the approval of the Commission, the Executive Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.
- (d) Detail of Government Employees- Upon the request of the Commission, the head of any Federal agency may detail, without reimbursement, any of the personnel of such agency to the Commission to assist in carrying out the duties of the Commission. Any such detail shall not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil service status or privileges of the personnel.
SEC. 9. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
- (a) In General- There are authorized to be appropriated $2,000,000 to carry out this Act.
- (b) Availability- Amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (a) shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.
SEC. 10. SUNSET.
- The Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission shall terminate 60 days after the submission to Congress of its report under section 5(c).
Passed the House of Representatives December 8, 2009.
To establish the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission.