For Immediate Release
Contact: Stu Loeser mailto:email@example.com
(202) 371-6400, ext. 456
October 4, 1999
House Votes Unanimously To Extend Holocaust
FINAL REPORT DUE BY DECEMBER 2000,
71 PERCENT MORE FUNDS AUTHORIZED
Washington, DC - The US House of
Representatives unanimously approved legislation today that will extend and significantly
strengthen the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States.
HR 2401, U.S. Holocaust Assets
Commission Extension Act of 1999, moves the date by which the Commissions final
report is due by 12 months to December 2000 and authorizes an additional $2.5 million for
the Commissions work, an increase of 71 percent over the original $3.5 million.
The more the Commission
uncovers, the more we discover we have to examine. This unanimous agreement to extend the
Commission and drastically increase our authorized funding proves the Houses
commitment to our work and Americas commitment to achieving justice for Holocaust
victims and their families, explained Commission Chair Edgar M. Bronfman. I
look forward to prompt consideration in the Senate.
The primary author of the House bill
was Rep. Rick Lazio (R-NY), who was joined by 27 Members of Congress as co-sponsors. Rep.
James Maloney (D-CT), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), International Relations Chairman Benjamin
Gilman (R-NY), Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach (R-IA), and Banking Committee Ranking
Democrat John LaFalce (D-NY) signed on as original co-sponsors. Identical legislation has
already been introduced in the Senate.
Created last year to examine -- and
advise the President on -- the fate of Holocaust victims assets that came into the
control of the Federal government, the Commission quickly determined that identifying and
tracking these assets is a much larger task than previously thought. In June, the
Commission unveiled a map of the more than 75 relevant WW-II era government
offices whose records must be located and scoured. Tracking the gold, art, and financial
assets of Holocaust victims means finding and reviewing more than 45 million pages - a
number which grows weekly as additional documents are declassified in a coordinated effort
between the Commission and the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group,
comprised of the CIA, FBI, NSC, Justice Department, State Department, Department of
Defense, National Archives and US Holocaust Museum. These records are located in
depositories across the country; the Commissions work is further complicated by the
fact that victims financial assets frozen by Federal law may now be sitting in each
of the 48 WWII-era state capitals.
For a complete copy of the discussions on U.S. HOLOCAUST ASSETS COMMISSION EXTENSION
ACT OF 1999 (House of Representatives - October 04, 1999) Click Here