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22 Jun 2016

Sasha Lezhnev & Holly Dranginis, Enough Project

US Congress may cut funds for enforcement of conflict minerals law - Enough Project, Global Witness urge calls to Congress to keep funding

"Why the House Must Stop the Last-second FSGG Rider on Conflict Minerals"

Yesterday, Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) filed an 11th hour amendment to the financial services appropriations bill to de-fund enforcement of the conflict minerals provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The amendment was adopted by the House Rules Committee and will go to the House floor for a vote today.

Including this last-minute rider would be a serious mistake for both humanitarian and business reasons. It would allow some of the world’s deadliest armed groups to profit from lucrative conflict minerals and halt much of the progress made over the past six years to improve corporate transparency in the tech sector and a range of other industries.

[Enough Project and Global Witness also made an urgent appeal for voters to call leaders in the House of Representatives to defend the bill.  The appeal stated that Representative Huizenga "introduced an amendment to the FY2017 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations bill, H.R. 5485, being considered in the House today and tomorrow. One of 70 amendments to the bill, this amendment states 'no funds appropriated in this Act may be used to enforce a SEC rule pursuant to Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank relating to “conflict minerals.”' In other words, this would defund the rule so it could not be enforced. This is a landmark law on conflict minerals (Section 1502) which aims to break the link of nearly 20 years’ worth of minerals fuelling conflict and human rights abuses in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and hold multinational corporations such as Apple, Intel, Microsoft and others accountable for how their products fuel this conflict. This provision helps companies source the minerals in their products more responsibly, which has led to greater scrutiny over the minerals trade in eastern DRC as well as the reduction of armed men present in mining sites. Because of this law, companies are no longer able to look the other way on risks in their supply chain. Defunding this provision would undermine important progress that has been made by numerous companies, private sector initiatives and regional governments to help clean up the minerals trade." The urgent appeal expired later in 2016.]