Washington, DC, July 27, 2023 – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) welcomes the reintroduction of the bipartisan National Security Reforms and Accountability Act (NSRAA) by Representatives Jim McGovern and Nancy Mace, which would instill much-needed congressional oversight over arms transfers and war powers.
Currently, blocking an arms transfer under the Arms Export Control Act requires a joint resolution of disapproval, which must be passed by a two-thirds majority in both chambers to overcome a likely presidential veto. Because of this exceptionally high threshold, it is extremely challenging for Congress to block a notified arms transfer. Indeed, even in cases of significant bipartisan opposition over human rights and civilian harm concerns, Congress has never successfully prevented a notified arms transfer through legislation.
The NSRAA addresses these challenges by “flipping the script” with an affirmative vote, requiring Congress to affirmatively authorize certain sales and transfers. The bill also prohibits arms transfers to countries that commit genocide or otherwise violate international humanitarian law.
“The United States is by far the world’s largest arms exporter,” said Annie Shiel, CIVIC’s US Advocacy Director. “Around the globe, US-made weapons fuel war and violence, devastate civilian communities, and enable gross human rights violations. It’s clear that Congress needs better tools to conduct real oversight and curb harmful arms transfers, and this legislation does just that.”
CIVIC joins over 20 other organizations in welcoming the legislation.