The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has hit a roadblock in the Senate. While it has been a voice for over a decade on behalf of those oppressed for their faith, its authority has been teetering on expiration this autumn.
USCIRF is an independent federal government commission tasked with assessing violations of religious freedom internationally and making relevant policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF has been promoting religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy since adoption of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) in 1998. The panel’s authority will expire unless renewed by Congress. In September, the House of Representatives passed legislation (H. R. 2867) to reauthorize USCIRF; however, action in the Senate is still pending.
NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging the U.S. Senate to authorize the continued work of USCIRF. Noting NRB as an “ardent advocate of religious freedom for all people domestically and abroad,” Dr. Wright said that allowing USCIRF “to expire would be detrimental to American efforts in this area and it may send a very poor message to other nations about U.S. priorities.”