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Supplemental Bill Approved by House Committee After Three-Day Mark-up

On May 15, the House Appropriations Committee approved, by voice vote, the FY2002 supplemental appropriations bill (as-yet-unnumbered). The committee began consideration of the measure last week, but a number of controversial amendments slowed the committee’s progress. The bill is expected to be on the House floor next week, while the Senate is not expected to consider the measure until after the Memorial Day recess.

Overall, the measure would provide an additional $29.8 billion in FY2002 supplemental spending. The bulk of the funding would be appropriated for homeland security activities and the war on terrorism.

The bill 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 million.

Additionally, $190 million would be provided for international disaster assistance. 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.

Another $75 million would be provided for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The additional funding would finance rising participation in the WIC program and increased food costs associated with the program.

During committee consideration on May 9, an amendment dealing with funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was adopted but later reversed. The amendment, offered by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), would have required the administration to release the $34 million allocated in FY2002 to UNFPA by July 10 if a State Department investigative team finds no evidence that UNFPA promotes or performs abortions in China.

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. This 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.

The amendment was approved, 32-31; however, on May 15, the committee reversed its action when it adopted an amendment by Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS). The Tiahrt amendment, which restated the language included in last year’s foreign operations bill, was adopted, 32-30.

Rep. Tiahrt said that his amendment would “return the supplemental bill back to the language that was passed in the FY2002 foreign operations,” adding that the inclusion of the Lowey amendment “jeopardized” the bill’s passage. He also argued that the July 10 deadline would be difficult to meet since the investigative team is not expected to release its findings until the beginning of July.

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) opposed the Tiahrt amendment, saying that it was Congress’ intent to provide the $34 million to UNFPA. “The conference made it clear that it was the intent of Congress to provide the allocated money to UNFPA.” He also objected to the Tiahrt amendment, noting that it would guarantee that the foreign operations subcommittee would have to revisit the issue during its consideration of the FY2003 bill. “This issue should be settled,” he said. Also on May 9, Rep. Lowey offered an amendment that would have increased the chair’s mark for the global HIV/AIDS fund from $200 million to $500 million. The amendment was defeated, 29-33.

Several other amendments were defeated, including an amendment by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) that would have provided an additional $382 million for substance abuse programs. The amendment was defeated, 24-32.

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