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Washington File

13 June 2003

House International Relations Committee Approves Burma Sanctions Act

(HR 2330 passed by voice vote, two amendments added to bill) (360)
By Steve La Rocque
Washington File United Nations Correspondent
One day after the Senate passed a bill endorsing sanctions on Burma by
a 97-to-one margin, the House International Relations Committee passed
by voice vote its own version of a sanctions bill aimed at that
The House International Relations Committee approved H.R. 2330, the
Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, with two amendments, during
a busy mark-up session June 12.
One amendment to H.R. 2330, proposed by Representative Tom Lantos
(Democrat of California), focused on the terms by which the President
could waive the trade ban on Burma, and sought to coordinate any ban
on visas with actions by the European Union. The second amendment,
brought by Representative Joseph Pitts (Republican of Pennsylvania,
noted the ethnic cleansing of minorities in Burma, and emphasized the
need for the United States to work with other nations to promote
freedom and human rights in that country.
The House International Relations Committee passed the amendments by
unanimous consent.
The House version of the Burma sanctions bill still has to face the
House Ways and Means Committee, the House Financial Services Committee
and the House Judiciary Committee before being brought to the floor of
the House of Representatives for action.
If the bill were to pass the House of Representatives, any differences
between H.R. 2330 and the related Senate Bill (S. 1215) would have to
be resolved before a reconciled bill could be resubmitted to both the
House and Senate for approval.
Both bills to sanction the military government ruling Burma have a
wide range of bipartisan support. In the House, there are 49
co-sponsors of H.R. 2330 as of June 12.
Lantos, who introduced H.R. 2330 June 4, and offered the amendment
regarding the waiving of the trade ban, is the co-chairman of the
Congressional Human Rights Caucus and the ranking Democrat on the
House International Relations Committee. Pitts, who also serves on the
Human Rights Caucus, and the House International Relations Committee,
is the founder and co-chairman of the Religious Prisoners
Congressional Task Force.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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