This week, Congress cleared the conference report for the FY2001 foreign operations appropriations bill (H.R. 4811), providing a $40 million increase for international family planning programs. The House approved the conference report on October 25 by a vote of 307-101. The Senate followed suit the same day approving the measure by a vote of 65-27. The President is expected to sign the bill.
The foreign operations appropriations bill is perennially delayed due to controversy over international family planning funding and an abortion-related restriction. Last year, the final measure prohibited U.S. aid to foreign organizations that use their own money to perform abortions abroad or to lobby foreign governments on abortion policy. The President was allowed to waive the restriction, but by doing so, the total funds available for international family planning programs were reduced by $12.5 million. The bill appropriated $385 million for such programs. Additionally, the bill capped the total funds available to groups using their own funds to perform abortions or to lobby on abortion policy at $15 million.
When the President signed the FY2000 foreign operations bill into law, he noted that the international family planning restrictions included were a one-time deal in exchange for back dues the United States owed the United Nations.
This year, the House approved its FY2001 foreign operations bill with the same restriction, while the Senate-passed bill included language to reverse the restriction. Additionally, the House-passed bill would have level-funded international family planning programs at $385 million, while the Senate-passed bill provided $425 million.
In the end, the final measure does not include the abortion-related restriction, and international family planning programs will receive $425 million in FY2001, $40 million more than originally appropriated in FY2000, but $54 million more than the programs actually received. However, the funds will be delayed until February 15, 2001. The delay will give the next President the opportunity to decide whether to impose restrictions on the programs.
The final bill also provides $25 million for the U.S. voluntary contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), with the requirements that no funds be spent on abortion, that UNFPA keep U.S. funds in a separate account, and that the U.S. contribution be reduced by the amount UNFPA spends in China. Both the House and Senate provided $25 million for UNFPA; however, the Senate bill did not include the dollar-for-dollar reduction in funding.
Development assistance will receive $1.3 billion under the final agreement. The House bill provided $1.258 billion and the Senate bill provided $1.368 billion. Of that amount, $1.5 million will be provided for microenterprise programs, the same amount provided by the House.
The Child Survival and Diseases Programs Fund will receive $963 million, a $248 million increase over FY2000. The House bill would have provided $834 million, while the Senate bill did not include funding for a similar account. Rather, the money was allocated under development assistance and global health.
Of the amount appropriated to the Child Survival and Diseases Programs Fund, $295 million will be allocated to child survival and maternal health programs; $300 million for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs; $103 million for children’s basic education; up to $50 million for a U.S. contribution to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI); up to $10 million for a U.S. contribution to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI); and up to $20 million for an HIV/AIDS program under the auspices of the World Bank.
The House bill provided $290 million for child survival and health programs; $254 million for HIV/AIDS initiatives; $103 million for children’s basic education; and up to $37.5 million for GAVI. The Senate bill provided $50 million for maternal health programs; $255 million for HIV/AIDS; $100 million for children’s basic education; and $50 million for GAVI.
Neither the House bill, nor the Senate bill provided funding for IAVI. Additionally, neither bill provided funding for an HIV/AIDS trust fund under the auspices of the World Bank as established by P.L. 106-264. Under the new law, $150 million is authorized each year in FY2001 and FY2002.
Overall, H.R. 4811 will provide $315 million for global HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. This amount does not include the money appropriated for GAVI, IAVI, and the World Bank HIV/AIDS trust fund. The statement of managers urges that “expanded resources be made available to mother-to-child transmission programs.” The language is similar to a Senate-passed provision.
Additionally, the statement of managers accompanying H.R. 4811 directs “that not less than $15 million from the HIV/AIDS program and the ‘Development Assistance’ account be made available to the Office of Health and Nutrition for microbicides research and development.” However, the Senate bill earmarked $15 million for such research, while the House bill included report language encouraging the provision of $10 million for microbicides research.
The final bill includes $60 million for tuberculosis prevention and treatment and $50 million for malaria prevention. The Senate bill provided $35 million for tuberculosis and $50 million for malaria, while the House bill did not earmark funds.
The Office of Women in Development within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will be level-funded at $15 million under the final bill, the same amount provided by the House and Senate.
While the Senate bill earmarked $1.5 million to develop and integrate educational programs aimed at eliminating the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), the final bill does not include the earmark. Rather, the bill retains a Senate-passed provision to require the Secretary of State to “determine the prevalence of the practice of FGM and the existence and enforcement of laws prohibiting this practice.” Additionally, the Secretary of State should make recommendations on how the United States can work to eliminate FGM. The statement of managers directs USAID to allocate $1.5 million to develop and integrate educational programs aimed at eliminating FGM.
The final agreement also includes another Senate-passed provision that earmarks $1.3 million to support the National Albanian American Council’s training program for Kosovar women. Additionally, H.R. 4811 includes $45 million for child survival, environmental health, and infectious diseases in the former Soviet Union.
The final bill includes $1.5 million to combat international trafficking in women and children in the former Soviet Union. The funding was included in the Senate bill. Additionally, the statement of managers states its concern about worldwide trafficking in women and children and “directs USAID to provide not less than $2.5 million, including funds from under the heading ‘Independent States,’ to continue and expand these anti-trafficking programs.”
H.R. 4811 does not include a Senate-passed provision that would have directed the Secretary of State to meet with countries that have a high incidence of dowry deaths or honor killings in an effort to increase awareness about the practice, to develop strategies to end the practice, and to determine the scope of the problem. During floor consideration, the House defeated, on a point of order, a sense of the House amendment with respect to honor killings.
H.R. 4811 also does not contain a Senate-passed provision that would have provided $250,000 to assist Kosovo law enforcement officials to better identify and respond to cases involving trafficking in persons.
In addition to funding U.S. foreign aid programs, H.R. 4811 includes language to raise the FY2001 spending caps. As set forth under the FY2001 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 290), FY2001 spending would have been capped at $600.2 billion. Due to the projected surplus, lawmakers and the President agreed to increase the cap to $637 billion for FY2001.