Congress Reauthorizes U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in Omnibus Spending Bill

December 20, 2019 Washington, D.C. — The Omnibus spending bill that the U.S. Senate passed yesterday included a three-year reauthorization of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The reauthorization preserves USCIRF’s original mandate, as set forth in the underlying statute. With House passage of this spending bill earlier in the week, it is now awaiting the President’s signature.

From its inception, USCIRF has been responsible for monitoring and documenting the state of religious freedom across the world. In addition to highlighting religious freedom violations, USCIRF also makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress based on its findings.

“USCIRF has a vital role to play in informing U.S. international religious freedom policy,” said Eric Patterson, executive vice president of the Religious Freedom Institute. “The world is experiencing a global crisis in religious freedom, and USCIRF’s core mission is more important than ever.”

Funding appropriated under the Omnibus bill will allow USCIRF to meet its current budget, which exceeds the $3.5 million appropriated in the previous reauthorization. Changes in the bill provide for increased transparency and reporting related to travel and public speaking on part of the commissioners.

Signed into law October 27, 1998, the International Religious Freedom Act created and authorized USCIRF, which was the first independent, bipartisan, government entity established to defend the universal right to freedom of religion internationally.

Media Contact:
Jeremy P. Barker

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) works to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere. RFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.