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house Bill H.R. 1477

Should Congress Receive an Assessment of the Threat Posed by Russian Involvement in Venezuela?

Argument in favor

Russian military influence in Venezuela has been growing in recent years, and the Maduro regime is leaning heavily on Russian support. It’s important for Congress to remain apprised of the situation to ensure that Russia doesn’t use Venezuela as a foothold to threaten and destabilize the Western Hemisphere.

SneakyPete's Opinion
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03/25/2019
Russian Southern Hemisphere Influences Needs To Be Tracked Congress needs to be constantly informed on Russian Influence by all means available. Russian military influence in Venezuela has been growing in recent years, and the Maduro regime is leaning heavily on Russian support. It’s important for Congress to remain apprised of the situation to ensure that Russia doesn’t use Venezuela as a foothold to threaten and destabilize the Western Hemisphere. SneakyPete........ 👎🏻👎🏻🇷🇺 👎🏻👎🏻. 3*25*19........
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Edith's Opinion
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03/25/2019
Please keep Putin out of South America. Putin’s Oligarchs are into making a buck regardless of who it hurts. Drugs, trafficking etc.
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Mitchell's Opinion
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03/25/2019
Absolutely they should. Why is this even a question? Even if it is only those committee members that are privy to security reports, they should be made aware of any and all threats to the US and our national interests.
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Argument opposed

The current security situation in Venezuela is already being closely monitored, and the State Dept. is already required to conduct threat assessments around the world as part of its mission — there’s no need for this bill.

Glowurm's Opinion
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03/25/2019
Doesn’t our intelligence agency already do this? Instead, where are the bills for increasing funds for education, infrastructure, climate change, clean air and water - for starters. And let us NEVER FORGET the beautiful, wonderful, huuuuge health care system the Repugnants promised us! Never happened! Instead of strengthening the program we had, the ACA, they seriously diminished it and continue trying to destroy to this day! Sure are wonderful people in charge up there in Washington, D.C., eh? NOT! Jchris 20, we should be more worried about the Dictator wannabe we have in OUR OWN COUNTRY RIGHT NOW!
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John's Opinion
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03/25/2019
This is already being done by the State Department and probably the Security Services.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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03/25/2019
Congress is already notified. Why do we need another redundant bill? Also this bill runs through 2023 which tells me that Wasserman Schultz sees this as a long term money making war rather than what it currently is and plans for the USA to become very involved.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedFebruary 28th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1477?

This bill — the Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act — would require a threat assessment and strategy to counter Russian military influence in Venezuela in addition to an assessment of foreign acquisition of Citgo assets in the U.S. It’d also make aliens acting on behalf of the Russian government in support of Venezuelan security forces ineligible for entry to the U.S.

The Secretary of State would be required to submit a threat assessment on Russian-Venezuelan security cooperation and the potential threat it poses to the U.S. and countries in the Western Hemisphere no later than 120 days after this bill’s enactment. The “appropriate congressional committees” in this context would be the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The president would be required to give the appropriate congressional committees an assessment of the security risks posed by potential Russian acquisition of Citgo’s U.S. energy infrastructure within 90 days of this bill’s enactment. The “appropriate congressional committees” in this context would be the House Foreign Affairs Committee, House Appropriations Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee.

This bill would make aliens whom the Secretary of State of the Secretary of Homeland Security (or their designees) know, or have reason to believe, are acting on or have acted on behalf of the Russian government in direct support of Venezuelan security forces inadmissible to the U.S., ineligible to receive a visa or other documentation to enter the U.S., and otherwise ineligible to be admitted or paroled into the U.S. It would also revoke existing visas for such persons, effective immediately upon this bill’s enactment. This bill wouldn’t apply if the person in question requires entry to the U.S. for diplomatic reasons or for national security reasons. These provisions would terminate three years after this bill’s passage, or when the president certifies to Congress that the Venezuelan government has returned to a democratic form of government with respect for the essential elements of representative democracy, as set forth in Article 3 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

“Venezuelan security forces” include the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, including the Bolivarian National Guard; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; the Bolivarian National Police; and the Bureau for Scientific, Criminal and Forensic Investigations of the Ministry of Interior, Justice, and Peace.

Impact

DOD; Secretary of State; Secretary of Homeland Security; Venezuela; and Russia.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1477

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2019-2023 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) introduced this bill to require the State Dept. to step up monitoring and provide Congress with threat assessments and strategies to curb Russian military influence in Venezuela:

“The growing military relationship between Nicolas Maduro and Vladimir Putin will severely obstruct any effort to restore real democracy in Venezuela. This kind of military alliance poses an imminent threat to our allies in the region, namely Colombia, and will only strengthen the foothold of Maduro’s brutal regime.”

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), an original cosponsor of this bill, adds:

“The United States, the European Union, Venezuela’s own neighbors, and most importantly, the people of Venezuela are clear: we stand united with Interim President Guaidó and his legitimate government as they lead Venezuela towards democracy with new free and fair elections. The South Florida delegation has come together to introduce bills that grant TPS status to Venezuelans, ban arms exports, and authorize humanitarian aid to Venezuelans. I am proud that we have come together once more to take a stand for freedom and democracy with the introduction of this bipartisan legislation responding to the increasingly troublesome defense relationship between the Maduro regime and Russia.”

In remarks at the full committee markup of this bill and two others aimed at holding the Maduro regime accountable for its actions, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said:

“Today, our Committee has an important opportunity to support the Venezuelan people by advancing three bills aimed at holding Nicolas Maduro accountable, while responding to Venezuela’s humanitarian needs… Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act would respond to the increasing security relationship between Venezuela and the Kremlin. This is another place where Vladimir Putin is trying to advance his aggressive agenda, and this bill would require an assessment from the Administration of what Russia’s up to and what danger it poses.”

This bill passed by House Foreign Affairs Committee by a voice vote with the support of four bipartisan cosponsors, including three Democrats and one Republican, all from the Florida delegation.

Rep. Wasserman-Schultz has also introduced another bill, H.R. 1102, also called the Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act, which has three bipartisan cosponsors, all from the Florida delegation.


Of NoteRussian-Venezuelan military interactions have increased in recent years, with joint forces participating in a 10-hour exercise across the Caribbean in December. Kremlin-linked military contractors have reportedly also been deployed to Venezuela. The Maduro regime has also turned to Russia for financial support during its current economic crisis.

South Florida Democrats — specifically the Miami congressional delegation — have introduced multiple bills in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. In addition to this bill, Rep. Donna Shalala's (D-FL) Venezuela Arms Restriction Act would ban the U.S. government from selling military equipment and riot-control gear to the Maduro regime and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s (D-FL) Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act of 2019 — would provide an additional $150 million in humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people.

Citgo, a Houston-based refining company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). The company is one of the few customers paying cash for Venezuelan crude, so its cash has become a lifeline for Venezuela as the company’s oil output has plummeted due to chronic underinvestment in PDVSA and falling oil prices. Citgo’s three refineries in Texas, Louisiana, and Illinois account for around four percent of U.S. fuel-making capacity, and the gasoline and diesel they produce is sold at over 5,000 Citgo-branded stations across the eastern U.S.

The Maduro government mortgaged Citgo to raise cash, putting around 50 percent of Citgo’s shares up as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan from Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft. Given the Maduro regime’s struggles, there’s now a risk that Maduro will stop paying off the Rosneft loan collateralized by Citgo shares, which would cause Citgo to fall into Russian hands — a scenario that the Trump administration has said it’s exploring legal options to prevent. In addition to Rosneft, two Canadian mining companies, Cristallex and Rusoro Mining, and ConocoPhillips are also major creditors of the company. The Canadian companies have sought to auction off parts of Citgo, and ConocoPhillips has seized some PDVSA assets in the Caribbean in an effort to be repaid by Venezuela.

Venezuelan oil minister Manuel Quevedo, who is also PDVSA’s president, says Venezuela will never give up on Citgo. In a tweet quoting Quevedo, PDVSA said, “@Citgo is and will always belong to Venezuelans. They want to come for our resources, for PDVSA. They won’t be able to deal with us.”

In late January 2019, the Trump administration commenced efforts to allow National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. and many other nations have recognized as the interim Venezeulan president, to control the country’s oil trade.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / mennovandijk)

AKA

Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act

Official Title

To require a threat assessment and strategy to counter Russian influence in Venezuela, an assessment of foreign acquisition of CITGO assets in the United States, and for other purposes.

    Russian Southern Hemisphere Influences Needs To Be Tracked Congress needs to be constantly informed on Russian Influence by all means available. Russian military influence in Venezuela has been growing in recent years, and the Maduro regime is leaning heavily on Russian support. It’s important for Congress to remain apprised of the situation to ensure that Russia doesn’t use Venezuela as a foothold to threaten and destabilize the Western Hemisphere. SneakyPete........ 👎🏻👎🏻🇷🇺 👎🏻👎🏻. 3*25*19........
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    Doesn’t our intelligence agency already do this? Instead, where are the bills for increasing funds for education, infrastructure, climate change, clean air and water - for starters. And let us NEVER FORGET the beautiful, wonderful, huuuuge health care system the Repugnants promised us! Never happened! Instead of strengthening the program we had, the ACA, they seriously diminished it and continue trying to destroy to this day! Sure are wonderful people in charge up there in Washington, D.C., eh? NOT! Jchris 20, we should be more worried about the Dictator wannabe we have in OUR OWN COUNTRY RIGHT NOW!
    Like (15)
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    This is already being done by the State Department and probably the Security Services.
    Like (10)
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    DUH‼️‼️‼️‼️
    Like (9)
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    Please keep Putin out of South America. Putin’s Oligarchs are into making a buck regardless of who it hurts. Drugs, trafficking etc.
    Like (7)
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    Absolutely they should. Why is this even a question? Even if it is only those committee members that are privy to security reports, they should be made aware of any and all threats to the US and our national interests.
    Like (6)
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    Congress is already notified. Why do we need another redundant bill? Also this bill runs through 2023 which tells me that Wasserman Schultz sees this as a long term money making war rather than what it currently is and plans for the USA to become very involved.
    Like (6)
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    Don’t trust the Russians
    Like (5)
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    Russia is a threat but China is a worse threat. Due to the fascist democrats ongoing investigation of collusion by President Trump and Russia, it makes it hard for our countries to be allies. When there wasn’t any proof of collusion, just lies, I believe this may have permanently damaged our relationship with Russia which we need. Who wants to fight a nuclear war? We should amend relations with Russia and concentrate on the World’s threat, China
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    Why is this even a possibility! When did we become a puppet state of Russia! Where is your Regan now you gutless Republicans!
    Like (4)
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    Russia is a threat
    Like (4)
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    We need to stay out of this situation unless there is an actual threat posed to the United States. The idea that Venezuela poses a threat to the United States is absurd since Maduro can barely maintain control of his own country and its clear that Russia is only interested in Venezuela. How about we mind our own business?
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    Our President is closely monitoring the situation and will take the appropiate action if needed. NO COLUSION!! MAGA!! Q SENT ME!
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    It’s time we use Venezuela as a learning tool. Show what can happen with too much government control
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    Stupid question #2745707
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    Congress should know everything that Russia is doing to have an effect on Venezuela's future. Our military MUST stay out of Venezuela .
    Like (3)
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    Congress is not fit to make assessments like this, most of them are ignorant when it comes to issues inside the United States, why would anyone give a damn what they think about issues around the world?
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    Until further escalation we should just do what we are doing. Nothing! We are ready to send in assistance if needed. We can run check on Russian involvement. Our President, Secretary of State and military officials have in control.
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    Venezuela is not a threat. We are a threat to every county in South and Central America. The long history of US usurping elected officials in sovereign nations must end. Hands off Venezuela!
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    There is nothing wrong with getting knowledge of what Russia is doing especially in a volatile country. The issue becomes what we do with that knowledge.
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