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Foreign Operations Spending Bill Sent to President

Disagreement over funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) held up the conference report for the FY2002 foreign operations appropriations bill (H.R. 2506) for over a month. Conferees finally reached an agreement, allowing the House to approve, 357-66, the conference report on December 19. On December 20, the Senate approved it by voice vote.

Like the House-passed bill, the measure retains the Mexico City policy, which prohibits nongovernmental organizations that use their own funds to perform abortions abroad or to lobby foreign governments on abortion policy from receiving U.S. funds. The Senate bill would have repealed the restriction.

However, the bill includes a $21 million increase for international family planning programs to $446 million, $4 million less than the Senate bill but $21 million more than the House bill and the President’s request.

Funding for UNFPA is increased from $25 million in FY2001 to $34 million in FY2002. The House bill would have level-funded the contribution, while the Senate bill would have provided $39 million. In order to receive the U.S. contribution, UNFPA must maintain a separate account for the U.S. contribution, must not commingle U.S. funds with other funds, and must not fund abortions. The bill does not include a past restriction that reduced the U.S. contribution to UNFPA dollar-for-dollar by the amount UNFPA spent in China.

Development assistance is funded at $1.2 billion, a $127 million reduction from last year and $147 million less than the budget request. Children’s basic education receives $150 million, the same amount provided by the House and $15 million less than the Senate bill. Report language encourages the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to emphasize education for girls.

Under the development assistance account, the conference report urges the State Department and USAID to provide $20 million for trafficking in women and children. The House bill would have earmarked $30 million for victims of trafficking.

USAID’s Women in Development Office is level-funded at $15 million, the same amount provided by the House and Senate.

The Child Survival and Health Programs Fund receives $1.4 billion, $371 million more than last year and $443 million more than the budget request, but roughly the same amount provided by the House and Senate.

The final measure provides a total of $475 million for global HIV/AIDS programs, a $160 million increase over last year. The Senate bill would have provided $450 million, while the House bill would have provided $474 million. Of the total amount, $435 million is made available through the Child Survival and Health Programs Fund, and $40 million is made available through other accounts in the bill.

The House bill would have earmarked $5 million for mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission prevention when it adopted an amendment by Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA). However, the conference report states that “expanded resources be made available to mother-to-child transmission programs.”

The conference report allows $50 million to be transferred from the Child Survival and Health Program Fund to a proposed global HIV/AIDS trust fund. Additionally, the bill authorizes the President to transfer up to $50 million from other accounts to the trust fund. Another $100 million contribution to the trust fund is funded through the FY2002 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill (H.R. 3061). The FY2001 emergency supplemental appropriations bill (P.L. 107-20) also appropriated $100 million for the fund, bringing the FY2002 total contribution to $300 million. The President had requested $200 million.

Conference report language directs the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees by April 30, 2002, as to the progress on the establishment of the global HIV/AIDS trust fund.

Of the amount made available for global HIV/AIDS programs, not less than $15 million is for the “development of microbicides as a means for combating HIV/AIDS.”

Under the Assistance for the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union account, not less than $1.5 million should be made available “only to meet the health and other assistance needs of victims of trafficking.” Report language also encourages the Coordinator of Assistance to the Independent States to continue programs that strengthen law enforcement and reduce all forms of violence against women. Another $49 million should be made available for child survival, environmental and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases in the former Soviet Union.

A Senate-passed provision that would allow funds to be used by the Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Women and Veteran’s Affairs to combat human trafficking was included in the final measure. The provision was sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS).

The bill does not contain a Senate-passed provision that would direct $2 million under the Economic Support Fund to be made available for programs and activities that train emerging Afghan women leaders in civil society development and democracy building. However, conference report language urges the State Department to provide this funding. The provision was sponsored by Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Brownback.

Another Senate-passed provision expressing the sense of the Senate that Afghan women’s organizations be included in the future reconstruction of Afghanistan and that future governments in Afghanistan ensure that women participate in all aspects of civil, economic, and social life was not included in the final agreement. The provision was sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

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