USA*ENGAGE Expresses Disappointment with Religious Sanctions Vote in Senate

Friday, 9 October 1998

Kittredge made his comments in response to the Senate's passage of H.R.2431, the International Religious Freedom Act.

Kittredge expressed concern that H.R.2431 was passed in the waning hours of the legislative session, having never been subject to final committee consideration, and without benefit of the Senate Sanctions Task Force recommendations. In addition, he noted that the legislation makes no meaningful attempt to produce sanctions that are multilateral, makes no analysis of the costs that sanctions might impose on Americans, and makes no assessment of whether the sanctions could actually work.

"We recognize the hard work and sincere effort that has gone into this legislation. The Senate's version of H.R.2431 represents a substantial improvement over a far more onerous House bill. We are grateful to our Senate allies, the Administration, the National Council of Churches, and the many members of USA*ENGAGE who have worked so hard to improve this bill over its House counterpart," Kittredge continued. "Unfortunately, the bill remains a unilateral sanctions bill that could end up targeting some of this country's closest allies and trading partners."

Kittredge noted that the Senate version does include broadened presidential waiver authority, a higher threshold trigger requirement, a sunset provision, and contract sanctity. "Despite these hard won improvements, the bill remains flawed. Today's vote reinforces the need for an improved process for the consideration of future sanctions, and USA*ENGAGE looks forward to working with the 106th Congress to promote such legislation," Kittredge concluded.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 676 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at

Contact: Eric Thomas 202/822-9491


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