WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded committee passage of their Safeguarding Tunisian Democracy Act, legislation to foster Tunisia’s democratic institutions, limit funds until Tunisia restores checks and balances, and authorize the creation of a fund to support democratic reforms.
“Tunisian President Kais Saied has taken several drastic actions that have undermined Tunisia’s democratic institutions and consolidated power in the executive. Despite threats from both the Biden Administration and Congress to reduce assistance, President Saied has not changed course,” said Ranking Member Risch. “This legislation will limit State Department funding to Tunisia until President Saied makes tangible and credible progress on political prisoners, ceases the use of military courts to try civilians, and ends states of emergency that have consolidated executive powers. The bill also provides real economic incentives should Tunisia choose to make meaningful democratic reforms. Tunisia is an important partner and we will continue to support the Tunisian people, but the government must change course or risk further degrading the U.S.-Tunisia relationship.”
“The United States and Tunisia share interests in regional stability, security, and economic prosperity, and I strongly support U.S. assistance to enable the democratic aspirations and economic dignity of the Tunisian people,” said Chairman Menendez. “This legislation preserves humanitarian and economic assistance for Tunisian civil society, while sharpening President Kais Saied’s choices. He and his government can either end the state of emergency and place Tunisia back on the democratic path that Tunisians have fought a decade for, or he can stand in the way of United States support for the Tunisian people and their government.”
Text of the legislation can be found here.