Congress sent U.S. President Bush a bill permitting states, localities and private investors to cut ties with corporations and investments linked to Sudan. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., passed the House unanimously amid concerns from the Bush administration the bill allows states and local governments to wade into the dictation of foreign policy , an area normally granted to the executive branch. “I don't believe President Bush can afford to veto this bill,” said Dodd. “A veto would be an endorsement of genocide.”
The bill focuses on oil, power production, mining and military equipment as revenue sources of the Sudanese government. Dodd says oil, power and mining provide $2.4 billion of the Sudanese government's revenue. He adds the government there spends 70 percent of the revenue generated from oil on military equipment.
The bill allows states and localities to divest their interests from companies involved in the four sectors named in the bill. It also permits managers of mutual funds and other retirement services to severe ties with companies involved in the bill's targets. “No one should have to worry that their retirement or pension funds are supporting genocide,” said one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
State Department officials expressed reservation over the bill. Tom Casey, the deputy spokesman for the State Department, said a primary concern is “assuring that the federal government maintains the ability to fully manage foreign policy, rather than having some of this be done at state and local levels.” The constitution provides the executive branch with the responsibility to dictate foreign policy.