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Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2006

Location: Washington, DC


TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2005

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 3057) making appropriations for foreign operations, export financing, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes:

* Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Chairman, this bill is far from perfect, but I think it deserves to be passed.

* The bill provides important resources to help our allies in the struggle against international terrorism and against the narcotics trade. For example, it includes economic assistance for Afghanistan at the requested level of $430 million, $205 million above last year's level, but includes a new provision that withholds $225 million of the total until the Secretary of State certifies that the national and local governments in Afghanistan are fully cooperating with the U.S.-funded narcotics eradication and interdiction efforts. The bill also includes $220 million for military assistance for Pakistan to support their efforts in hunting terrorists along the Afghan border, as well as $347 million--$111 million above last year--for International Narcotics Control.

* Some of the other high-priority items in the bill include much-needed assistance to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria--$131 million more than the President's request and $502 million more than in fiscal year 2005.

* The Peace Corps is funded at $325 million, $8 million above fiscal 2005, and the bill includes provisions to provide for a greater role in oversight of U.S. taxpayer contributions to international organizations.

* Of course, the bill is far from perfect, and I do not agree with all its priorities. I voted for a number of amendments that would have improved it and regret that not all of them were adopted.

* I also voted against some amendments, including two that dealt with the sensitive subject of extradition from other countries of people accused of crimes in the United States.

* One of those amendments, by my Colorado colleague, Representative BEAUPREZ, calls for cutting off any assistance to a country that refuses to comply with a request to extradite a person charged with killing a police officer in the United States.

* Killing a policeman is a very serious matter, and I am a cosponsor of a bill (H.R. 2363) to authorize much more severe penalties for such fugitive killers of a peace officer--including any Federal, State, or local police officer.

* However, I voted against the Beauprez amendment after receiving a communication from the District Attorney in Denver. He is currently working to complete the extradition from Mexico of a fugitive wanted in connection with the murder of a Denver police officer and has indicated that Congressional threats to reduce assistance as a way to bring pressure on the Mexican authorities run the risk of being counterproductive. I am not opposed to using leverage, including our foreign assistance programs, to insist that other countries extradite wanted fugitives, but the District Attorney's comments persuaded me that adoption of the amendment at this time could make it harder for the District Attorney's efforts with Mexico to succeed.

* On balance, while the bill is not all that I would wish in all respects, I think it deserves approval and I will vote for it.

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