1985 Amendment from Senator Edward Zorinsky (D-NE) to the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948

Senator Edward Zorinsky (D-NE)

Congressional Record of the 99th Congress, 1st Session, June 7, 1985 (legislative day of June 3, 1985):

Mr. ZORINSKY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that further reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:

On page 19, after line 9 add the following new section:

SEC. 206. BAN ON DOMESTIC ACTIVITIES BY THE USIA.

No funds authorized to be appropriated to the United States Information Agency shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States. No program material prepared by the United States Information Agency shall be distributed within the United States. This section shall not apply to programs carried out pursuant to the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (Public Law 87-256).

Mr. ZORINSKY. Mr. President, I offer this amendment to prohibit USIA from engaging in domestic propaganda and to restate the existing prohibitions on domestic dissemination of USIA products.

By law, the USIA cannot engage in domestic propaganda. This distinguishes us, as a free society, from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.

There is considerable discussion within USIA about using the Agency’s so-called second mandate to engage in domestic propaganda. The second mandate — “telling America about the world” — has never been implemented. It should not now be implemented as part of a USIA strategy to propagandize the American people on foreign policy issues.

The American taxpayer certainly does not need or want his tax dollars used to support U.S. Government propaganda directed at him or her. My amendment ensures that this will not occur.

Mr. President, I have checked with the majority floor manager and the minority floor manager and they have indicated this may be acceptable to them.

Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, the amendment of the distinguished Senator from Nebraska essentially restates law with regard to the USIA. The Senator feels that it is important that this law be not only restated but perhaps reenforced by the emphasis of this amendment. We accept the amendment and commend it to the Senate.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there further debate? If not, the question is on agreeing to the amendment.

The amendment (No. 296) was agreed to.

Mr. ZORINSKY. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote by which the amendment was agreed to.

Mr. LUGAR. I move to lay that motion on the table.

The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.

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