S. 416 would require the Department of State to designate the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization affiliated with the Russian government, as a foreign terrorist organization. It would require the department to provide the Congress a plan for increasing the number of employees who monitor the group and for intensifying its diplomatic efforts to persuade foreign governments and international organizations to counter Russian mercenary groups. The bill also would require the department to establish a task force on countering such mercenary groups and to provide several reports to the Congress on the department’s efforts to do so.
Although the Administration has sanctioned the Wagner Group under existing authorities, it might broaden their application if the group is designated as a foreign terrorist organization. Under additional sanctions, more people would be denied visas by the Department of State, resulting in an insignificant decrease in revenues from fees. Although most visa fees are retained by the Department of State and spent, some collections are deposited into the Treasury as revenues. Denying foreign nationals entry into the United States also would reduce direct spending on federal benefits (emergency Medicaid or federal subsidies for health insurance, for example) for which those people might otherwise be eligible.