Sec. 1283 of the House Version of NDAA Unconstitutionally
Endangered an estimated 100,000 AsAms
On May 24 of this year, H.R. 5515, entitled Nat'l Defense Authorization Act of 2019, or NDAA, passed. Its Section 1283, entitled "Certification and Authority to Terminate Funding for Academic Research Relating To Foreign Talent Programs", stated:
"that such funds shall not be made available to any individual who has participated in or is currently participating in a foreign talent or expert recruitment program of a country listed in subsection (d)." (emphasis added) Subsection (d) : The People's Republic of China, N. Korea, Russia & Iran.
What It Meant. NOTE that It's Unconstitutional!
It would mean that anyone having spent a portion of one's sabbatical or vacation in a visiting program on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong or Macau, may NOT be be eligible for grants/contracts that contain Dept. of Defense money.
We estimate that tens of thousands of Americans and AsAms, especially professors and professionals in private industries would be adversely affected.
The 4 words shown in red in Sec 1283 made it unconstitutional, since
passed on 6/19, kept the language of Sec. 1283 out.
Working behind the scenes to keep the language of Sec. 1283
out of the FINAL version
However, the two versions of the NDAA were to go into a Senate-House Conference Committee to settle their differences. Only delegates to this committee would have a say in the final version. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware again provided the critical help. He asked two Democratic senators who were delegates to the conference to keep an eye out for us and to try and keep the language of Sec. 1283 out.
At the Conf. Comm., as a compromise, Republicans senators Cornyn and Cotton made an amendment entitled: "Initiative to support protection of national security academic researchers from undue influence and other security threats." Please note the drastic differences in the titles of 1286 and the earlier 1283.
Sec 1286 took out the unconstitutional language in Sec 1283 of the House version and also deleted the names of the 4 nations, for now at least.. It asked the Defense Department to consult the academic community beforeenacting rules to disqualify "offenders" from DOD contracts. Click hereto view the compromise version, passed a few days ago. Go to pages 1116 to 1120.
Mission Accomplished THIS time. Will EF be as successful the next time or every time? My guess is "NO !!!", unless each of us will do our share to forge unity within the AsAm community, before it is too late. Things will likely get tougher.