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Senate Appropriations Committee FY2008 State and Foreign Operations Report Language

On June 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2008 State and Foreign Operations spending bill (H.R. 2764) (see The Source, 6/29/07). The committee report accompanying the bill has been printed and details a number of programs of interest to women and their families. The measure would allocate $34.243 billion in FY2008, $2.726 billion less than FY2007, including emergency and supplemental appropriations, and $700.72 million below President Bush’s request.

Department of State

The Department of State would receive $10.684 billion in FY2008, $255.071 million below FY2007 and $40.196 million less than the president’s budget request.

Trafficking in Persons: The Trafficking in Persons Office would receive $4.215 million in FY2008.

The committee “requests the Secretary of State to submit a report by May 1, 2008, on the uses of funding to combat human trafficking, including operations of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and all program funds. The report shall include the proportion of funds managed by TIP and by posts in the field. The committee supports a balanced approach that achieves an overall strategic policy and provides flexibility for posts to respond to trafficking issues in the field.”

International Peacekeeping: International peacekeeping programs would receive $1.352 billion in FY2008, $216.725 million more than FY2007 and $245 million more than the administration’s request.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Global Health Programs: The committee “consolidates all funding contained in the budget request for HIV/AIDS programs under the GHP [Global Health Programs] account…[this program] supports health activities abroad, including those to combat HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and other infectious diseases, including neglected tropical diseases, and to reduce child mortality, provide voluntary family planning services, and protect women’s health.”

The GHP would receive $6.531 billion in FY2008. Included in that amount is $5.09 billion for Global HIV/AIDS activities, which is $1.843 billion more than FY2007 and $940 million more than the administration’s request. Also included in the GHP is $550 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria; $40 million for United Nations AIDS programs; $350 million for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) AIDS programs, and $45 million for research on and development of microbicides.

The committee “believes the key to addressing the health crisis in the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, is building public health systems that are capable of providing basic health services, especially for women and children. An essential component of any strategy is to provide training and support for health care workers, many of whom are dying of AIDS, leaving in droves to obtain jobs in foreign countries, or abandoning primary health care to join organizations working to combat HIV/AIDS which can pay higher salaries. The committee strongly supports HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs, but they are no substitute for building the public health capacity to prevent the needless deaths of millions of children before the age of five, and more than half a million women from pregnancy-related causes, each year. Accordingly, the committee has substantially increased funding for child survival and maternal health programs, and directs USAID to consult with the committee and the public health community on how best to utilize these additional funds to build sustainable public health systems, including by training more health care workers.”

The report states that the committee “provides [monies] for research on and development of microbicides as a means of combating HIV/AIDS, and recommends continued support for the International Partnership for Microbicides.”

The committee “continues to support programs that prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. The committee believes that additional resources are required to expand access to these programs, including care and treatment. The committee directs the Global AIDS Coordinator to provide the resources and technical assistance necessary to expand access to PMTCT services, including effective drug regimes, and to encourage stronger linkages between PMTCT and care and treatment programs. The committee recommends that USAID consider supporting a proposal from Mothers2Mothers to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS from mothers to infants.”

The report states that the committee is “concerned that meningitis has plagued sub-Saharan Africa for over a century, threatening the lives of half a billion people, especially the young. Of those infected, 10 percent die and 25 percent are left with severe neurological damage. The committee is aware of the Meningitis Vaccine Project, which is supported by private donors to develop an affordable vaccine. The committee recommends USAID consider funding this initiative.”

International Family Planning: Reproductive health and family planning programs would receive $461.06 million, of which $395 million would be drawn from the Global Health Programs fund, $54.25 million from the Economic Support Fund, $1.7 million from Assistance to Eastern Europe and the Baltic States program fund, and $10.11 million from the Former Soviet Union program funds.

Child Survival and Maternal Health: Child survival and maternal health programs would receive $476.517 million in FY2008, of which $450 million would be drawn from the Global Health Programs fund, $20.698 million from the Economic Support Fund, $700,000 from Assistance to Eastern Europe and the Baltic States program fund, and $5.119 million from the Former Soviet Union program funds.

Vulnerable Children: Programs to support vulnerable children would receive $15 million in FY2008, entirely drawn from the Global Health Programs fund. Of that amount, the committee recommends that $1.9 million be directed to children’s blindness programs and “[to] the maximum extent practicable, the committee intends funding for blind children to be focused on eye surgery and vision corrections for children, and is to be implemented in a manner that provides the most funds to the field.”

Victims of Torture: The committee would allocated $10 million for “programs and activities that address the needs of victims of torture. The committee recommends support for centers for victims of torture that provide services consistent with the goals of Public Law 10687, the Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act of 1999.”

Education: The committee “recommends continued funding for programs that increase access to basic education in sub-Saharan Africa through the reduction or elimination of school fees. The committee recommends $15 million for basic education programs in Ethiopia from all accounts in this act, an increase of $2.2 million above the budget request.”

Microfinance: Microfinance programs would receive $250 million “from all accounts in this act for microfinance and microenterprise development programs for the poor, especially women. The committee expects USAID to preserve the viability of leading private NGO [nongovernmental] microfinance networks and PVOs [private voluntary organizations] in order to maximize assistance to poor clients. The committee directs that 50 percent of funds available should be for grants to private nongovernmental organizations, networks, and practitioner institutions, and that $30 million should be provided to USAID’s Office of Microenterprise through a central funding mechanism for contracts, cooperative agreements, and grants. The committee recommends $20 million be used for microfinance service providers working with people infected by HIV/AIDS.”

GROWTH Fund: The committee “supports the establishment of the GROWTH Fund, which is intended to enhance economic opportunities for very poor, poor, and low-income women in developing countries. Programs supported by the fund should increase women-owned enterprise development; property rights for women; women’s access to financial services; women in organizational leadership positions; women’s ability to benefit from global trade; and improve women’s employment benefits and conditions.”

Women’s Leadership: The committee “recommends USAID consider funding a proposal from Women’s Campaign International to expand political participation of women.”

Girls’ Empowerment: The committee “directs the DFA [Director for Foreign Assistance] to submit a report to the committee by May 1, 2008, that includes: (1) an assessment, including data disaggregated by gender where possible, of current U.S.-funded efforts to improve access of girls in developing countries to health care, education and training, and protection (including from child marriage, human trafficking, gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases); (2) examples of best practices or programs that could be replicated; and (3) a strategy to address the unique needs, vulnerabilities, and potential of girls in developing countries.”

Afghanistan: The committee allocates $202 million for programs in Afghanistan. The committee report states, “As in past years, the committee has provided funding to address the critical needs of Afghan women and girls, including support for women-led Afghan NGOs. The committee directs the DFA to submit a report by May 1, 2008, detailing the uses of funds appropriated for these purposes for each year since FY2002. The committee directs that the report assess the impacts of this assistance on health care, education and training, protection, and women-led organizations; and to recommend new approaches that could better address the growing and unique needs, vulnerabilities, and potential of girls in Afghanistan. Additionally, the committee directs the DFA to report on best practices or programs currently being implemented in Afghanistan for women and girls which could be replicated in other countries in the region.”

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF): UNICEF would receive $129 million in FY2008, $6 million more than the administration’s request.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM): UNIFEM would receive $3.5 million in FY2008, $2.55 million more than President Bush’s request. The UNIFEM Trust Fund would receive $1.5 million in FY2008. Under the administration’s budget request, this program would not have been funded.

International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) Program: In FY2008, the INCLE Program would receive $558.449 million, $85.833 million more than FY2007 and $76.151 million less than the administration’s request. The committee “is concerned with the rise in organized crime and gang violence, as well as the murders of young women, in Guatemala. Corruption and a dysfunctional justice system have prevented an effective response to these serious problems…The committee believes that establishing the rule of law in Guatemala is imperative for the future economic, social, and political development of the country, and that this will not be possible until the perpetrators of these heinous acts are brought to justice.”

The committee “recognizes the work of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and supports activities overseas, such as information sharing, tracking incidents, and identifying patterns of international child pornography. The committee recommends the Department of State consider a proposal for this purpose.”

Migration and Refugee Assistance: Migration and refugee assistance programs would receive $899 million in FY2008, $55.967 million more than FY2007 and $115.5 million above the administration’s request.

The committee “notes the shortage of referrals for refugee processing of unaccompanied minors, including orphans and children with disabilities, and recommends that the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration work with other federal agencies, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and refugee resettlement organizations, to prioritize identification, screening, and registering of vulnerable unaccompanied refugee minors to facilitate their resettlement.”

Independent Agencies

Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC): The MCC would receive $1.2 billion in FY2008, $552.3 million less than FY2007 and $1.8 billion below the budget request.

The committee “supports the goals of the MCC to provide assistance in a manner that promotes economic growth, reduces extreme poverty, and strengthens good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people. However, the committee has been disappointed in several respects by the way it has been implemented. Compacts have been signed with some countries of little if any strategic importance to the United States. Only a miniscule portion of funding has been devoted to improving health, education, or governance, which are necessary to alleviate poverty. No compacts have included judicial reform as a primary component, although violent crime, corruption, and dysfunctional judicial systems are an impediment to development in many of the countries that have signed compacts.”

The report continues, “the committee was faced with difficult choices, caused in part by the administration’s decision to not include any funds for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in its budget request for State, Foreign Operations, as well as by arrears owed in connection with binding treaty obligations. The committee directs the MCC to proceed judiciously regarding future compacts until the results of compacts previously signed can be evaluated. The committee directs the Comptroller General to audit and assess the financial management and oversight of MCC programs.”

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