U.S. House Adds Further Georgia Provisions to Defense Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives added a section 1299c titled “Report on Support for Democratic Reforms by the Government of the Republic of Georgiato the recently passed Defense Bill, that among others, requires the State Secretary to report the Congress on whether the Georgian Government is taking effective steps to strengthen its democracy.

According to the newly-added provision, the report submitted to Congress not later than 180 days after the enactment of the Act, should contain an analysis of whether or not “the Government of Georgia is taking effective steps to strengthen democratic institutions in Georgia.

The report shall also analyze whether or not the Government of Georgia is:

  • “effectively implementing electoral reform;
  • respecting the independence of the judiciary, including independence from legislative or executive interference;
  • effectively implementing the necessary policies to ensure accountability and transparency, including unfettered access to public information;
  • protecting the rights of civil society, opposition political parties, and the independence of the media; and
  • any other matters the Secretary determines to be appropriate.”

The added provision also reads that the United States should support the Government of Georgia’s “continued development of democratic values, path to electoral reform, commitment to combating corruption, and efforts to ensure the Georgian private sector upholds internationally recognized standards, including welcoming and protecting foreign direct investment.”

It adds that the U.S. should continue “to work closely with the Government of Georgia on defense and security cooperation to include increasing Georgia’s defense capabilities, interoperability with partner nations, adherence to the rules of war, and strengthening of defense institutions.”

Noteworthy, that on July 24 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the spending bill, which also requires the Secretary of State to present to Congress a report, that will analyze the state of democracy in Georgia. The spending bill makes 15 % of the funds available to the central Georgian Government conditioned to the state of democracy in the country.

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