A U.S. government agency tasked with monitoring religious liberty worldwide is in danger of being shut down for good.
Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, also known as USCIRF, in 1998.
The commission, operating with a $4 million budget, was formed to track religious rights issues around the world and advise the State Department.
Without reauthorization from congressional lawmakers or a short-term measure to keep it alive, the commission will cease to exist on Dec. 16.
The commission’s mandate is up for reauthorization, but the legislation has been held up in the Senate.
Leonard Leo, chairman of the commission, appeared on the Dec. 9 edition of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Christian World News,” and spoke about the delay.
“It’s been bottled up for some for some time. News reports indicate that Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois is holding the legislation because he wants to have a prison built in his home state that Republicans don’t want to have built because President Obama has indicated that that prison could be used for transporting Guntanamo Bay detainees into the United States,” he said.
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