On May 24, the House approved, 280-138, the FY2002 supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 4775), after an acrimonious and lengthy debate over the debt ceiling. The measure would provide an additional $28.8 billion in FY2002 supplemental spending with the bulk of the funding being appropriated for homeland security activities and the war on terrorism.
In an effort to avoid a weekend-long debate over the measure, the Republican leadership pulled the bill late Thursday night, sending it back to the Rules Committee. A more restrictive rule governing debate was then approved.
The new rule stripped all language from the bill dealing with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Under last year’s foreign operations spending bill (P.L. 107-115), $34 million was allocated to UNFPA. However, the President exercised his authority to withhold funds for any country or organization if the President certifies that the funds would be used for the performance of coerced abortions overseas. Last week, the State Department sent a fact-finding team to China to investigate allegations that UNFPA participates in China’s forced sterilization and abortion program, with the results of their investigation due in early July.
During committee action, an amendment was offered that would require the President to submit a report to Congress by July 31 on the findings of the State Department’s investigative team. The amendment gave the President discretion to release not more than $34 million to UNFPA.
By adopting the amendment, the committee reversed its prior approval of an amendment that would have required the President to release the full $34 million by July 10 if no violations were discovered (see The Source 5/17/02).
H.R. 4775 would provide an additional $200 million for the global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria fund, bringing the total U.S. contribution to the fund in FY2002 to $500 billion. Congress has already allocated $650 million in FY2002 for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
Additionally, $190 million would be provided for disaster assistance in Afghanistan and Pakistan, an increase of $105 million over the President’s request. Of that amount, $150 million would be allocated for resettlement and reconstruction activities in Afghanistan, with report language directing the administration to expand economic opportunities for women in Afghanistan. H.R. 4775 also would allocate $10 million for migration and refugee assistance in and around Afghanistan.
The bill would provide another $75 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to finance increased participation in the WIC program, as well as the increased food costs associated with the program. The WIC program has already been allocated $4.348 billion in FY2002.
H.R. 4775 also would appropriate $1.0 billion for Pell Grants to prevent an expected shortfall in the student loan program due to higher program costs related to the economic downturn and the increasing number of individuals seeking post-secondary education.
Senate Action On May 22, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved, unanimously, their version of the FY2002 supplemental appropriations bill (S. 2551). S. 2551 would provide $31 billion in supplemental spending, approximately $1.6 billion more than H.R. 4775.
The Senate measure includes language that would require the President to disburse $34 million in family planning aid by July 10 if the Administration certifies that UNFPA did not violate U.S. law by participating in forced sterilization and abortion programs in China.
S. 2551 also would allocate $100 million for the global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria fund, as well as $1.0 billion for Pell Grants. Several Senators have announced that they will introduce amendments to increase funding for HIV/AIDS when the measure reaches the Senate floor.