The House on Monday afternoon will vote on legislation aimed at making it easier for foreign governments to lend works of art to be displayed in U.S. museums, without fear of having the artwork subjected to litigation once it enters the United States. But the bill to be voted on would exempt artwork stolen by Nazi Germany from these assurances.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) introduced the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act, H.R. 4086, in February. Chabot says his bill is meant to clarify the relationship between two existing laws that has made some foreign governments wary of temporarily exporting artwork to the United States.
"In order to present first-class exhibitions on a consistent basis, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Art Museum and other similar museums across this country depend on foreign loans," Chabot said in February. "By enacting this legislation, we can remove a major obstacle to foreign loans and exchanges."
Currently, the Immunity from Seizure Act (IFSA) gives the executive branch the authority to grant artwork immunity from seizure by U.S. courts, which is meant to help encourage the exchange of culturally significant objects between nations.