United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Oct 31, 2020

§ 6431.
Establishment and composition
(a)
In general

There is established the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

(b)
Membership
(1)
Appointment
The Commission shall be composed of—
(A)
the Ambassador at Large, who shall serve ex officio as a nonvoting member of the Commission; and
(B)
Nine 1
1
 So in original. Probably should not be capitalized.
other members, who shall be United States citizens who are not being paid as officers or employees of the United States, and who shall be appointed as follows:
(i)
Three members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President.
(ii)
Three members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate, of which two of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the Senate of the political party that is not the political party of the President, and of which one of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the Senate of the other political party.
(iii)
Three members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, of which two of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the House of the political party that is not the political party of the President, and of which one of the members shall be appointed upon the recommendation of the leader in the House of the other political party.
(2)
Selection

Members of the Commission shall be selected among distinguished individuals noted for their knowledge and experience in fields relevant to the issue of international religious freedom, including foreign affairs, direct experience abroad, human rights, and international law.

(3)
Time of appointment

The appointments required by paragraph (1) shall be made not later than 120 days after October 27, 1998.

(c)
Terms
(1)
In general

The term of office of each member of the Commission shall be 2 years. An individual, including any member appointed to the Commission prior to December 23, 2011, shall not serve more than 2 terms as a member of the Commission under any circumstance. For any member serving on the Commission on such date who has completed at least 2 full terms on the Commission, such member’s term shall expire 90 days after such date. A member of the Commission may not serve after the expiration of that member’s term.

(2)
Establishment of staggered terms
(A)
In general

Notwithstanding paragraph (1), members of the Commission appointed to serve on the Commission during the period May 15, 2003, through May 14, 2005, shall be appointed to terms in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph.

(B)
Presidential appointments

Of the three members of the Commission appointed by the President under subsection (b)(1)(B)(i), two shall be appointed to a 1-year term and one shall be appointed to a 2-year term.

(C)
Appointments by the President pro tempore of the Senate

Of the three members of the Commission appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate under subsection (b)(1)(B)(ii), one of the appointments made upon the recommendation of the leader in the Senate of the political party that is not the political party of the President shall be appointed to a 1-year term, and the other two appointments under such clause shall be 2-year terms.

(D)
Appointments by the Speaker of the House of Representatives

Of the three members of the Commission appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives under subsection (b)(1)(B)(iii), one of the appointments made upon the recommendation of the leader in the House of the political party that is not the political party of the President shall be to a 1-year term, and the other two appointments under such clause shall be 2-year terms.

(E)
Appointments to 1-year terms

The term of each member of the Commission appointed to a 1-year term shall be considered to have begun on May 15, 2003, and shall end on May 14, 2004, regardless of the date of the appointment to the Commission. Each vacancy which occurs upon the expiration of the term of a member appointed to a 1-year term shall be filled by the appointment of a successor to a 2-year term.

(F)
Appointments to 2-year terms

Each appointment of a member to a two-year term shall identify the member succeeded thereby, and each such term shall end on May 14 of the year that is at least two years after the expiration of the previous term, regardless of the date of the appointment to the Commission.

(3)
Ineligibility for reappointment

If a member of the Commission attends, by being physically present or by conference call, less than 75 percent of the meetings of the Commission during one of that member’s terms on the Commission, the member shall not be eligible for reappointment to the Commission.

(d)
Election of Chair and Vice Chair

At the first meeting of the Commission after May 30 of each year, a majority of the members of the Commission who are present and voting shall elect a Chair and a Vice Chair. The Vice Chair shall have been appointed by an officeholder from a different political party than the officeholder who appointed the member of the Commission who was elected Chair. The positions of Chair and Vice Chair shall be rotated annually between members who were appointed to the Commission by officeholders of different political parties.

(e)
Quorum

Six voting members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for purposes of transacting business.

(f)
Meetings

Each year, within 15 days, or as soon as practicable, after the issuance of the International Religious Freedom Report, the Commission shall convene. The Commission shall otherwise meet at the call of the Chair or, if no Chair has been elected for that calendar year, at the call of six voting members of the Commission.

(g)
Vacancies

Any vacancy of the Commission shall not affect its powers, but shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made. A member may serve after the expiration of that member’s term until a successor has taken office. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member’s predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term.

(h)
Administrative support

The Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission on a reimbursable basis (or, in the discretion of the Administrator, on a nonreimbursable basis) such administrative support services as the Commission may request to carry out the provisions of this subchapter.

(i)
Funding

Members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5 while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of services for the Commission. Members of the Commission shall comply with the requirements set forth in chapters 300 through 304 of title 41, Code of Federal Regulations (commonly known as the “Federal Travel Regulation”) and the Department of State Standardized Regulations governing authorized travel at government expense, including regulations concerning the mode of travel, lodging and per diem expenditures, reimbursement payments, and expense reporting and documentation requirements.

(j)
Removal

If a payment is made under section 415(a) of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1415(a)) for an award or settlement in connection with a claim alleging a violation of unlawful harassment, intimidation, reprisal, or discrimination under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.) that was committed personally by an individual who, at the time of committing the violation, was a Member of the Commission, the Member shall be removed from the Commission.

(Pub. L. 105–292, title II, § 201, Oct. 27, 1998, 112 Stat. 2797; Pub. L. 106–55, §§ 1(a), 2(b), Aug. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 401, 406; Pub. L. 107–228, div. A, title VI, § 681(b)–(d), Sept. 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 1408, 1409; Pub. L. 112–75, § 2, Dec. 23, 2011, 125 Stat. 1272; Pub. L. 116–94, div. J, title VIII, §§ 803, 806(a), Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 3076, 3078.)
cite as: 22 USC 6431