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Lewis: Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Must be Improved


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, Jul 16, 2008 -

Lewis: Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Must be Improved

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations approved its Fiscal Year 2009 spending legislation. The bill funds the annual operations of the State Department, Global Health initiatives, Military Peacekeeping actions, and international aid, and other programs.

House Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-Calif), stated that while the bill represents a good start to fulfill U.S. foreign policy intent and commitments to other countries, many improvements should be made. Specifically, Lewis is concerned with the funding level of embassy security programs – which received a minor .7 percent increase over last year despite growing threats.

“With the violence that has occurred in the past week and months surrounding consulates and embassies, I am shocked that this bill fails to provide adequate funds for diplomatic and embassy security,” Lewis said. “For the safety of diplomats and peacekeepers around the globe, this bill must have the opportunity to be improved upon in full Committee.”

Lewis stated that while the bill needs work, it also includes commendable funding levels for important programs, including $5.5 billion for global HIV/AIDS programs which is a 24 percent increase – or $398 million - over the President’s request and $1 billion above the current year level. Also included is $1 billion for Afghanistan, of which $300 million is restricted until the Secretary of State certifies that the government at the national and provincial level is cooperating fully with U.S. funded poppy eradication and interdiction efforts. 

“This bill represents very serious business for this Congress, and whether or not we agree on the direction of our foreign policy, it is our responsibility to recommend and pass adequate funding for these critical programs,” Lewis said. “It is past time to bring this bill – and all our Appropriations bills – to the full Committee and to the House floor for a vote.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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