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Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2006--Conference Report

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I want to take a moment before the Senate completes consideration of the fiscal year 2006 foreign operations and related programs conference report to thank Chairman Kolbe and Ranking Member Lowey in the House, and their staffs, and my friend from Vermont and his staff for the hard work and compromise that went into this legislation.

Although the bill we send to the President is more than $1.8 billion below the budget request--and more than $1.1 billion below the Senate mark--we did our best to fund our Nation's foreign assistance priorities, whether countering terrorism, combating HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria or advancing democracy abroad. I am also pleased we were able to provide significant funding for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Sudan.

Given bipartisan support for several accounts, we were able to provide modest increases over last year's enacted levels for the Child Survival and Health Programs Fund, Development Assistance, International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, Migration and Refugee Assistance, and Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs.

For HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, we provided a total of $2.8 billion from all accounts in the bill, an increase of $268 million above the budget request. There is $450 million available for a U.S. contribution to the Global Fund. We also include a provision, for the first time in the bill, designating $100 million to combat malaria.

Finally, the bill includes a new appropriations account entitled ``Democracy Fund'' that will help ensure America's activities to promote democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law abroad are conducted in a more efficient and effective manner.

Let me close with a brief word of thanks to my staff--but especially to their families. It takes a long time to produce a foreign aid bill, and I appreciate the dedication of Tom Hawkins, Harry Christy, Bob Lester, LaShawnda Smith and Paul Grove to this task. But to their families, I offer a special thanks for their understanding and support as the midnight oil was burned and weekends were spent at the office.

I hope we can move quickly to a vote on the conference report.



Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to mention one other item in the Foreign Operations conference report. It does not earmark Foreign Military Financing funds for Timor-Leste, formerly East Timor, the world's newest democracy and a friend of the United States. However, we do not earmark funding for many of the countries for which FMF was requested, but we provide $241.7 million in FMF assistance to cover these needs, including for Timor-Leste. The administration's budget request included $1.5 million in FMF for East Timor. The fact that we did not earmark these funds for Timor-Leste should not be misinterpreted as an indication of any disagreement on the part of the conferees with the administration's request.

Mr. McCONNELL. That is correct. We did not earmark FMF for Timor-Leste but we intend the administration to provide an amount similar to the request. We also provided $1.5 million in International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, INCLE assistance for Timor-Leste, for on the ground police training, as well as $19 million in Economic Support Fund assistance. The cut in ESF from the fiscal year 2005 level of $22 million was due, in part, to the earmark in INCLE assistance which had not been requested by the administration.

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