Press Release

April 17, 2024
Cardin Hails Committee Passage of Bipartisan International Freedom Protection Act

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Wicker (R-Miss.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, celebrated the Committee’s passage of the bipartisan International Freedom Protection Act, which will modernize and enhance U.S. tools, strategies, and approaches to combatting authoritarianism and defending democracy abroad.

“In recent years, the looming shadow of authoritarianism has eroded freedom around the world, posing heightened threats to both the national security of the United States and that of our allies and partners,” said Chair Cardin. “Too often, democracies have found themselves on the back foot. However, today marks a pivotal moment as this critical legislation passes through the Committee — an important step forward in fortifying our defenses against autocratic forces. The bipartisan International Freedom Protection Act embodies a multifaceted approach in the face of rising authoritarianism, tackling the resurgence of military coups, holding foreign officials accountable for egregious human rights abuses and rampant corruption, combatting transnational repression, and intensifying efforts to safeguard political prisoners. I commend my Senate colleagues for their bipartisan support in advancing these vital initiatives, and equipping the United States to better confront intricate and evolving challenges on the horizon.”

Among other provisions, the International Freedom Protection Act will:

  1. Combat transnational repression by defining the term for the first time in law and requiring a U.S. strategy on the matter
  2. Establish in law a mandatory visa ineligibility for foreign government officials involved in gross violations of human rights and significant acts of public corruption
  3. Address the rise of coups by codifying a restriction on the provision of assistance to governments that come to power through military coups
  4. Call for the consideration of transnational repression to be included in determining whether to impose global Magnitsky and other sanctions
  5. Enhance efforts at the State Department to support political prisoners through a strategy and assessment of resource gaps
  6. Combat corruption and kleptocracy by expanding the Rewards for Justice program to allow the State Department to provide rewards for information related to tracking down ill-gotten gains from corruption
  7. Call for the establishment of a program at the State Department for democracy research and development to drive innovation regarding the challenges to democracy and best practices