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house Bill H.R. 1111

Should There Be a Dept. of Peacebuilding?

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedFebruary 8th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1111?

This bill — the Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2019 — would establish a Dept. of Peacebuilding in the executive branch, to be headed by a Secretary of Peacebuilding. This department would be dedicated to peacebuilding, peacemaking, and the study and promotion of conditions conducive to both domestic and international peace and a culture of peace.

This bill would set forth a mission for this department that includes the cultivation of peace and peacebuilding as a strategic national policy objective and the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful conflict resolution, and structured conflict mediation.

The Secretary of Peacebuilding would sponsor conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives, facilitate peace summits between conflicting parties, encourage community policing, and support efforts by local community and religious groups to reduce gun violence, racial and ethnic violence, and prevent violence against women and LGBT Americans.

The following offices would be established within the Dept. of Peacebuilding, with Assistant Secretaries to be appointed by the president to head each one:

  • Office of Peace Education and Training, charged with creating and implementing peace education and training curricula at the pre-kindergarten, elementary, secondary, university, and postgraduate levels.
  • Office of Domestic Peacebuilding Activities, charged with developing new policies and building on existing proven programs to assist in crime prevention, previously incarcerated individuals’ re-entry into communities, creating strong and healthy families, providing restorative justice programs, training and deploying prevention and peacemaking personnel to neighborhoods of nonmilitary domestic conflict, implementing community-based policing to break down barriers between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, and encouraging and facilitating the formation of locally administered citizen’s boards to recommend appropriate training for working compassionately and effectively with local populations.
  • Office of International Peacebuilding Activities, charged with developing new programs and promoting existing proven programs to provide for the training and deployment of graduate of the Peace Academy (described below) and other nonmilitary conflict prevention and peacemaking personnel, supporting national and regional conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives in countries experiencing strife, providing training for the administration of post-conflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-town societies, addressing the root causes of violence, eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, and empowering women and girls, and supporting the creation of a multinational non-violence peace force.
  • Office of Technology for Peace, charged with making grants for the research and development of technologies in transportation, communications, agriculture and energy that are nonviolent in application and which encourage the conservation and sustainability of natural resources in order to prevent future conflicts over resource scarcity.
  • Office of Arms Control and Disarmament, charged with advising interagency discussion regarding the reduction and elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) around the world, assisting in assessing the locations of nuclear arms and WMD buildup, developing nonviolent strategies to deter the testing or use of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, and providing technical and legal support for the implementation and saving of contracts, agreements, and treaties addressing the elimination of nuclear weapons and other WMDs.
  • Office of Peacebuilding Information and Research, charged with commissioning or compiling studies on the impact or war and other types of violence, compiling information on effective community peacebuilding activities and disseminating that information to government and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) both domestically and abroad, commissioning or compiling research on the effect of violence in the media, commissioning or compiling research on the effects of gun violence in the U.S., publishing a monthly journal of the Dept. of Peacebuilding’s activities, and sponsoring conferences throughout the U.S. to create awareness of the Dept. of Peacebuilding’s research.
  • Office of Human Rights and Economic Rights, charged with furthering the incorporation of the principles of human rights into all agreements between the U.S. and other countries, consulting with appropriate parties to gather information on and documenting domestic and international human rights abuses, providing trained observers to work with NGOs to create a climate conducive to respect for human rights, conducting economic analyses of resource scarcity as a source of conflict and making recommendations for the nonviolence prevention of such scarcity, assisting in developing strategies to promote full compliance with domestic and international labor rights law, conducting policy analysis to ensure that U.S. international development investments positively impact recipient countries’ peace and stability, and disseminating policies and research in consultation with appropriate State Dept. entities.
  • Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Peace, charged with providing a forum for representatives of all levels of government to discuss peace issues, promoting intergovernmental relations and offering professional mediation services to ameliorate and resolve intergovernmental and intragovernmental conflict and as needed, and submitting an at least biennial report to appropriate parties reviewing federal peace activities’ impact on all levels of U.S. government.

A Federal Interagency Committee on Peace would also be established to coordinate the Dept. of Peacebuilding’s actions, as well as its actions with other federal agencies.

This bill would also establish a U.S. Peace Academy, which would act as a sister organization to the military service academics. The Academy would research and teach cutting-edge techniques for the reduction of violence both domestically and globally. It’d also join the military service academies in providing assistance to the military in international conflict resolution. The Academy’s faculty would be derived from well-established practitioners known for best practices in the field of violence reduction and conflict resolution.

The Dept. of Defense (DOD) and the State Dept. would be required to consult the Dept. of Peacebuilding concerning nonviolent means of conflict resolution when a conflict between the U.S. and any other government or entity is foreseeable, imminent, or occurring.

Finally, the Dept. of Peacebuilding would encourage citizens to observe and celebrate the blessing of peace and endeavor to create peace on Peace Days, which would include discussions of the professional activities and achievements of peacemakers.

Impact

Peace; conflict; peacebuilding; executive branch; DOD; State Dept.; and Dept. of Peacebuilding.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1111

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced this bill to create a cabinet-level Secretary and Dept. of Peacebuilding:

“We owe it to ourselves and our young people to create a society where war and violence are no longer the norm, where hate and inequity have no place, and where there is justice for all.  A Department of Peacebuilding would help us accomplish our goals by facilitating peace summits between conflicting parties, advancing restorative justice practices in our institutions, and promoting peacebuilding in the realms of human and economic rights, disarmament, technology, and the media … peacebuilding together is the way forward.”

When she first introduced this bill in February 2013, Rep. Lee said:

“This culture of violence that we live in is unacceptable. On our streets and across the globe, the pervasive presence of violence has infected the lives of millions, and it is far past time we address it as a nation. We invest hundreds of billions each year in the Pentagon, in war colleges, military academies, and our national defense universities all to develop war tactics and strategies.  Now we need that kind of investment in peace and nonviolence here at home… The Department of Peacebuilding… has the potential to reduce suffering on a national and global scale while saving billions of dollars through violence reduction and increased economic productivity.”

The Peace Alliance supports this bill, writing that:

“This Department of Peacebuilding Act embodies the principles fundamental to resolving conflicts in all areas of society and building a culture of peace. The new Department will provide tools and education to help us all work together on issues, such as security, the economy, homelessness, energy, public health, the environment, and more.”

In a column when this bill was first introduced in 2013, U.S. News & World Report contributor G. Philip Hughes argued that the U.S. Institute of Peace and State Dept. fulfill all the objectives that the proposed Dept. of Peacebuilding would:

“For 30 years, we've had an almost entirely federally-funded U.S. Institute of Peace. It occupies a shiny new building next door to the State Department on the National Mall. Originally dreamed up as a counterweight to the Pentagon's War Colleges and defense think tanks, studying how to make war (instead of peace), it's programs have long since expanded beyond interstate conflict to research, teaching, and training on sources of and antidotes for societal violence— including forays into more effective approaches to policing. Practically everything Representative Lee's new federal department would do, the institute already does. But the proposal isn't to elevate the institute to cabinet rank; it's to build something new on top of it. Just the thing to do in a time of out-of-control deficits and run-away debt. And then there's the fact that we already have a ‘Department of Peace.’ It's called the State Department. Ask anyone who works there—or ever has. They'll tell you: It's their professional mission to keep the United States at peace and to achieve its aims in the world peacefully.”

This bill has no cosponsors in the current session of Congress. Rep. Lee first introduced this bill in February 2013, as H.R. 808 - Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2013. In the 113th Congress, this bill had 35 Democratic cosponsors and didn’t receive a committee vote. Since then, Rep. Lee has introduced this bill in every session of Congress. When she last introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, it had 43 Democratic cosponsors and again didn’t receive a committee vote. Before Rep. Lee introduced this bill in the 113th Congress, former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced it in every Congress since two months before the 9/11 attacks (the 107th, 108th, 109th, 110th, 111th, and 112th Congresses).


Of NoteAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each life cut short by a homicide costs the U.S. economy $1.65 million. Worldwide, the Institute for Economics and Peace estimates that violence and conflict cost the global economy $9 trillion in 2011.

The inaugural Peace Perceptions Poll, conducted by International Alert and the British Council in collaboration with global polling agency RIWI in 2018, found that Americans rank “dealing with the reasons people fight in the first place” as the most effective among measures to bring peace, far above military intervention (ranked last, with only eight percent of Americans preferring this above all other tactics). “Supporting societies and communities to resolve conflict peacefully” ranked second, “Negotiate peace agreement with political leaders” came third, and “having democratic elections” ranked fourth. In all, 82 percent of respondents favored preventative and peaceful solutions to violence.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / ipopba)

AKA

Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2019

Official Title

To establish a Department of Peacebuilding, and for other purposes.

    Right now? During the Trump administration? Good luck with this one.
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    Absolutely NOT! The State Department ALREADY does more than enough to undermine the security and foreign policy of this country without empowering ANOTHER ill advised ridiculous Federal Department.
    Like (113)
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    Isn't that the State Department?
    Like (96)
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    This is really the job of the State Department which should be promoting peace and diplomacy around the world. Also, the Department of Defense should act like an actual defense department instead of an offense department which supports and maintains wars and military conflicts all over the world. We also need to reign in the influence of military contractors who make money off of warfare.
    Like (85)
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    Pretty sure we already have one called the state department.
    Like (58)
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    I’m all for making peace around the world, but the fact is, this is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars! For starters, as long as evil is on this planet, and as long as there are power-hungry leaders, there will be wars and violence. An overpaid bureaucrat will not create world peace.
    Like (47)
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    We have the State Department (when it has proper leadership) and the Peace Corps. We need to have leadership in our government that embraces peace rather than war as a goal to be pursued, and humanity as a precious resource to be preserved rather than destroyed.
    Like (40)
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    There already is a Department of Peace and there always has been. It’s called the State Department — where we keep all our “Diplomats” someone should perhaps point that out to the GOP/Conservatives and especially to Trump he apparently thinks it’s the department of one-sided short sighted “we win you loose” deals or the department of comply or die, our way or the highway department.
    Like (33)
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    Just another govt dept to piss away OUR hard earned dollars. How about do your job to begin with, do what the people ask of you and peace will come.
    Like (31)
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    It is called diplomacy. Please stop overspending our tax money. We need to start paying back our national debt. If my household was spending that much more, in relation to what we are bringing home, I would not be able to sleep! Why are we not more nervous about our country’s severely debilitating spending problem?
    Like (30)
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    Lol no. Almost as ridiculous as the green new deal
    Like (28)
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    We already have one called the State department. This is called waste.
    Like (26)
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    Don’t waste the time and money.
    Like (24)
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    No there should not be another unconstitutional department of anything government related. This means more taxes, more corruption, and more government employees making big money off of the backs of American citizens.
    Like (19)
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    What, like our poor gutted State Department? Maybe we could just let them do their jobs without ignorant interference from the warmongering idiots in DOD and Admin.
    Like (18)
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    We already have one. It's called the state department. It needs to do a better job.
    Like (15)
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    What a joke! Seriously, hasn’t that ALWAYS been our objective? The State Dept., I believe, is already charged with this mission. Besides, with the Idiot in charge inciting such hate and divisiveness, this would be an impossible challenge! Peace building starts from the top down. Get rid of the Idiot and, hopefully, we needn’t worry about this anymore. And who made the Idiot king? Spouting out his edicts, almost daily. His free speech edict, the most current. Allowing right-wing, hate-spouting, lying individuals to invade and disrupt campuses, I believe, is in direct violation of free speech! The First Amendment allowed for civil discourse, NOT HATRED, INCITING TO RIOT AND LIES! Stop his free speech edict immediately! Who, the, hell made him king? Last I checked, nobody! And people, IF it is true that a sitting President cannot be indicted, (which, to me, is a totally outrageous, incorrect interpretation of the law) then we DAMN WELL BETTER IMPEACH THE BASTARD NOW, because, if he is elected for a second term, the Statute of Limitations will have run in five years, meaning we will NOT BE ABLE TO INDICT HIM AFTER THAT! He will walk free! Is that the message we want to send the world? Come be our President and you can have carte blanche on illegal conduct? So, tell me, does that mean he really can walk down a street and kill someone and get to walk away with no consequences for his actions? People, if this is true we, seriously, need to CHANGE THIS RIGHT NOW. NO-ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW. ESPECIALLY NOT THIS IDIOT! CONGRESS GET TO WORK AND FIX THIS IMMEDIATELY!
    Like (12)
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    Peace buildings budget should be in direct relation to the budget of war. Which we spend more on is what we will have more of.
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    More nonsense from the Democrats, we have real problems to address not garbage like this bill. #MAGA
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    Please that is communist propaganda, mind conditioning for group think. Absolutely not.
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