A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Organization of American States (OAS) Revitalization and Reform Act of 2013. This legislation urges the implementation of certain management reforms at the OAS and requires the Secretary of State to identify a path toward the adoption of these reforms, while declaring the organization the primary multi-lateral diplomatic entity for regional disputes and promotion of democratic governance.
The bill was introduced today by Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN), along with committee members Tom Udall (D-NM) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
"The OAS is vital; it is the premier multilateral institution for the Americas, but urgent administrative and financial reforms are needed to strengthen the organization and ensure its success long into the future," said Chairman Robert Menendez. "Critical reforms are overdue. Our objective is a strong and effective OAS that will promote peace and security, democracy, rule of law, and human rights in the Western Hemisphere."
"Deepening the meaningful reform process at OAS will help further political and economic partnerships beneficial to all countries involved, while also signaling cooperation between the Foreign Relations Committee and the State Department," Ranking Republican Member Bob Corker said. "In addition to advancing shared prosperity and democratic principles among OAS nations, this bill will establish robust oversight and accountability measures to ensure the needed reforms are carried out."
"The OAS has a strong history of promoting regional cooperation to advance the shared values of countries in the Western Hemisphere," said Tom Udall, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and Global Narcotics Affairs. "However, that role could be threatened unless the OAS takes action to reform how it does business. This bill will help the OAS pursue overdue change and remain a positive force in the Americas."
"The Western Hemisphere holds significant strategic interest for our nation, and the OAS needs to step up its game as a regional organization that can assist countries in the region to build democracy, enhance trade and economic ties, defend human rights and strengthen security alliances. This legislation will help us move towards accomplishing these goals," said Senator Rubio.