House approves bill to encourage international art exchange

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), has said FSIA conflicts with the Immunity from Seizure Act, which is meant to excuse artwork from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. In a brief debate, Chabot reiterated that his bill would help reassure foreign governments and allow for the unhindered exchange of art and other cultural artifacts between U.S. museums and those in other countries.

Chabot's bill does clarify, however, that that artwork will not be protected from claims that the piece in question was taken by Nazi Germany between Jan. 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945.

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The House also briefly debated legislation that would expand opportunities for Israeli citizens to obtain U.S. work visas. The bill, H.R. 3992, would authorize Israel to get E-2 work visas.

These are usually available to countries with significant trade with the U.S., although Congress must specifically add countries to this list. The House approve this bill in a 371-0 vote that started at 6:30 p.m.

— This story was updated at 6:53 p.m. to reflect the vote on the second bill.