WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, this week at a hearing of the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee called for adequate funding for the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) to enforce sanctions and advance our nation’s foreign policy and national security goals. The hearing on the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget featured testimony from Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
“Ensuring that our nation is able to administer and enforce sanctions against those who threaten our security and the security of treasured allies is critical for our safety and advancing American foreign policy,” Senator Mikulski said. “OFAC has been effective in demonstrating U.S. leadership in enforcing sanctions against Iran, North Korea and Syria. Sanctions against Iran brought them to the negotiating table. As negotiations continue, Iran is not getting a free pass. New sanctions were announced in February. We are firm in our commitment that a nuclear weapons program is not an option for Iran. If Iranians don’t meet the obligations of this interim plan Congress will act, and OFAC will be the tool we use to send a clear message.”
As Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski has fought to cancel sequester and prioritize funding for implementation of sanctions related to global hot-spots. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, she ensured a robust funding level of $102 million for sanctions enforcement, an increase of $6 million over FY13 levels. The Senator is also keeping an eye on threats on the horizon – supporting the Obama Administration’s proposal for an additional $4 million for FY15 to allow for aggressive sanctions implementation and enforcement and capacity to respond to unexpected crises.
As one of four key organizations under TFI, OFAC designs, implements, and enforces sanctions programs to disrupt and dismantle the support networks of terrorist groups, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, drug traffickers, and organized criminal groups around the world. TFI was formed in 2004. Since coming under TFI, OFAC’s workload has grown from managing 17 sanctions programs to 37 today.