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Committee Approves FY2003 Foreign Operations Spending Bill

On September 12, the House Appropriations Committee approved, by voice vote, the FY2003 foreign operations spending bill (as-yet-unnumbered). While Congress allocated $16.32 billion in FY2002, the FY2003 spending measure would allocate $16.55 billion.

During the committee’s consideration of the bill, Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) offered an amendment that would increase funding for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan from $147 million to $295 million. The amendment was approved by voice vote.

Under the measure, $786 million would be provided for HIV/AIDS activities, including $250 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and up to $100 million for the Mother-to-Child HIV Prevention program. Global HIV/AIDS programs received $475 million in FY2002. It is expected that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will offer an amendment on the House floor that would add $400 million to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide.

In addition, the measure would provide an increase from $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion in FY2003 for the Child Survival and Health Programs Fund, which funds activities and programs aimed at reducing child mortality and morbidity. Of that amount, $120 million would be provided for the United Nations Children’s Fund, the same as last year’s funding level.

The FY2003 foreign operations spending bill also would allocate $1.4 billion in development assistance for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Last year, Congress funded development assistance at $1.2 billion. The total funding for USAID in FY2003 would be $4.1 billion, with the bulk of the money going towards HIV/AIDS programs and basic education programs.

Under the measure, international family planning programs would receive $425 million. Last year, these programs received $446 million. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) would receive $25 million. The bill maintains several requirements: no funds may be spent on abortion, the UNFPA must keep U.S. funds in a separate account, and the U.S. contribution must be reduced by the amount UNFPA spends in China. A new condition was added to the FY2003 spending bill that would prohibit the UNFPA from using any U.S. funds to provide assistance to the Chinese Family Planning Commission or its regional affiliates. In FY2002, Congress appropriated $34 million for UNFPA; however, the administration recently announced that it will not release the funding to the organization because of its activities in China. In July, the Senate Appropriations Committee allocated $50 million for UNFPA (See The Source 7/26/02).

A more detailed summary will be available next week.

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