FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2005 -- (House of Representatives - July 15, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 715 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 4818.
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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, I rise to commend Chairman JIM KOLBE, Ranking Member NITA LOWEY, the other members of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the majority and minority staffs for the bipartisan, collegial spirit during our oversight hearings and the subcommittee and full committee markups.
I feel privileged to have worked with such a fine group of people. We all know this is a difficult appropriations year, and I am grateful to Chairman KOLBE and the subcommittee staff for their even-handed approach to drafting the FY 2005 Foreign Operations bill.
I support this bill, despite the lack of resources. The Chairman and the subcommittee staff incorporated most of my requests that significantly improve funding for health and development programs for those suffering in the developing world-especially in Africa. I thank them for that.
During my tenure on this subcommittee, I have always fought for more funds for sub-Saharan Africa. When the President submitted his budget for the Foreign Operations bill earlier this year, he proposed several cuts in Development Assistance and Child Survival funds to scores of specific African countries. Development Assistance funds are crucial to the long-term, sustainable development of these countries because they fund agriculture, education, environment, democracy, and governance programs. Child Survival funds are important because they combat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Moreover, during our oversight hearings, administration witnesses did not put forward a coherent or credible plan when it came to solving the long-term health and development problems of sub-Saharan Africa.
After working with the Chairman and the Ranking Member, we restored these cuts and improved the bill.
Let me be the first to say that this bill is not perfect. Overall, it is almost $2 billion below the President's request. Our commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is severely underfunded by possibly hundreds of millions of dollars, and although funding for the Peace Corps has been increased from last year relative to FY 2004, it is $70 million below the President's FY 2005 request.
Moreover, this bill is $95 million below the President's request for Debt Restructuring and $13 million below our commitment for the Global Environment Facility.
One of the more troubling aspects of this bill is that the Rules Committee did not make in order a very thoughtful amendment by my Ranking Member, Representative LOWEY.
Representative LOWEY's amendment would have provided much needed health care resources through UNFPA programs in only 6 countries of strategic and national security importance to the U.S.: Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Kenya and Tazania and would continue to prohibit funding for any individual UNFPA country that has been cited for violating Kemp-Kasten.
Despite these omissions, I plan to support this bill. The House should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Although I think this bill underfunds the Global Fund, it is $300 million above the President's request. This bill is $228 million above the President's request for Child Survival and Health Programs. It is $100 million above the President's request for Development Assistance, and $27 million above the President's request for Migration and Refugee Assistance.
Also, this bill includes $12 million for conflict resolution and a $17 million increase for International Organizations and Programs.
All of the cuts requested in the Child Survival and Health Programs were restored, and $6 million has been included for obstetric fistula prevention and repair. All of the cuts requested for sub-Saharan African countries in Child Survival and Development Assistance accounts have been restored and there is a $15 million African school fee reduction incentive fund.
The Chairman and the Ranking Member have produced a solid piece of legislation despite the lack of resources they were provided. I cannot stress enough how much I have enjoyed my work this year on the Foreign Operations Subcommittee as we addressed the problems and concerns of the developing world. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill.