2006.06.09: June 9, 2006: Headlines: Congress: Appropriations: budget: Washington File: Congress appropriates $325 Million for Peace Corps in FY2007 Budget

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Appropriations: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Appropriations : 2006.06.09: June 9, 2006: Headlines: Congress: Appropriations: budget: Washington File: Congress appropriates $325 Million for Peace Corps in FY2007 Budget

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Congress appropriates $325 Million for Peace Corps in FY2007 Budget

Congress appropriates $325 Million for Peace Corps in FY2007 Budget

On February 6th, 2006, President Bush submitted a budget to Congress that included a request of $337 Million for the Peace Corps. The House has approved a budget 4% below the President's request.

Congress appropriates $325 Million for Peace Corps in FY2007 Budget

House Passes $21.3 Billion Fiscal 2007 Foreign Aid Spending Bill
by Kathryn McConnell
Source: Washington File, USA

Representatives reject proposal to cut assistance to Egypt

Washington - The U.S. House of Representatives has approved $21.3 billion in foreign assistance spending for the fiscal year beginning October 1 (fiscal year 2007) after defeating a proposal to reduce by $100 million aid for Egypt.

The bill passed June 9 by a 373-34 vote would provide 10 percent less than the Bush administration had requested but approximately 3 percent ($597 million) more than approved for fiscal year 2006.

The bill would fund fully Bush's request of:
$3.4 billion for the international fight against HIV/AIDS,
$2.5 billion in aid to Israel,
$1.8 billion for Egypt and
$450 million for Sudan.

For the bill to become law, the Senate now must complete its version and the differences between the two worked out by a joint House-Senate committee. A final compromise bill then must be approved again by each chamber and sent to the president for signature or veto.

The contested amendment, defeated 225-198, offered by Wisconsin Representative David Obey, would have shifted $100 million away from Egypt to help fight HIV/AIDS and assist refugees in the Darfur area of Sudan. Obey is the leading Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

The amendment was intended to signal unease about Egypt's human-rights record. Opponents said a reduction in aid would punish unfairly an important ally in the Middle East. (See related article.)

The measure would provide $2 billion -- or one-third less than requested -- for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which rewards countries for economic progress and political and social development efforts.

It also would provide $522 million for Iraq reconstruction, $227 million less than the administration requested, and scale back funding for Afghanistan from the requested $1.1 billion to $962 million.

Jordan would receive $217 million for its security needs and $251 million in economic assistance. That total is $11 million more than requested and $9 million above the current level.

The measure does not provide the president's requested $150 million for development in the West Bank and Gaza but would allocate $80 million in humanitarian assistance to the area, provided the funds would not be used to support Hamas.

All U.S. assistance for Palestinians in those regions would go to nongovernmental organizations or contactors selected and monitored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The bill also would provide $507 million for the next stage of the Andean Counterdrug Initiative, established in 2000 by Congress to fight illegal narcotics in Latin America, primarily in Colombia. Total anti-narcotics funding for the region would be $704 million. (See related article.)

An amendment offered by Democrat Jim McGovern would have shifted $30 million from the Andean initiative to refugees assistance programs. McGovern said the program is not working and supports a Colombian military accused of human-rights abuses. Opponents of the amendment said the anti-drug program is making progress; the amendment was rejected 224-174.

The spending measure would appropriate $371 million for former republics of the Soviet Union and $228 million for Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. It provides no military aid to Uzbekistan, accused of widespread human-rights violations; the Uzbek government has demanded the United State remove its military air base that had been supporting U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Overall the bill would appropriate $1.3 billion for multilateral development assistance; $1.3 billion for international financial institutions, such as the World Bank; $750 million for migration and refuges assistance; and $522 million for a new Trade Capacity Enhancement Fund to help nations qualify for and implement free-trade agreements.

The bill also would provide $70 million in economic assistance, $10 million less than requested, and $5 million in military assistance and training funds for Indonesia.

It would fund the Peace Corps at $325 million.

An amendment to bar any aid to Saudi Arabia was approved 312-97. An earlier version of bill contained some funds for military training and education.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)

When this story was posted in June 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Washington File

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