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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 10, 2002

President Signs Foreign Operations Appropriations Act
Statement by the President

Today I have signed into law H.R. 2506, the "Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2002." The Act provides the funds needed to support U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad and reflects the restraint on spending that has been a key goal of my Administration.

I appreciate the bipartisan effort that has gone into producing this Act. It abides by the agreed upon aggregate funding level for Fiscal Year 2002 of $686 billion. The Act will provide $15.4 billion, largely along the lines of my request, and includes essential funding to support America's war on terrorism. The Act supports such key Administration initiatives as the campaign against HIV/AIDS, with up to $100 million available for the global fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and an additional $100 million is also provided by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

I also welcome the additional flexibility that the Act provides through the reduction in earmarks and added waiver authorities, including the changes to the annual counternarcotics certification process and the waiver provision allowing me the flexibility to provide additional assistance to Azerbaijan. This flexibility will allow my Administration to meet the diplomatic requirements stemming from the September 11th attacks, as well as to continue to address the ever-changing foreign policy challenges we face.

The Act does not interfere with our policies regarding bilateral international family planning assistance, and ensures that U.S. funds are not made available to organizations supporting or participating in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. The Act provides additional discretion to determine the appropriate level of funding for the United Nations Population Fund.

Several provisions of the Act purport to direct or burden the conduct of negotiations by the executive branch with foreign governments, international organizations, or other entities abroad, or otherwise interfere with the President's constitutional authority to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs. These include sections 514, 560, and 581(a), and the appropriations heading related to the International Development Association, which purport to direct the Secretary of the Treasury to require the U.S. representatives to take particular positions for the United States in international organizations or require the Secretary to accord priority to a particular objective in negotiations with such an organization. Another such provision is section 567(b), which purports to direct the Secretary of State to consult certain international organizations in determining the state of events abroad. These provisions shall be construed consistent with my constitutional authorities to conduct foreign affairs, participate in international negotiations, and supervise the executive branch.

Section 573 of the Act calls for the Department of State to provide regular and detailed briefings to congressional committees on any discussions between the executive branch and a particular government abroad on any potential purchase of defense articles or defense services by that government. This provision shall be construed as advisory only, given the constitutional powers of the President to supervise the executive branch and to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs, which includes the authority to determine what information about international negotiations may, in the public interest, be made available to the Congress and when such disclosure should occur. The Secretary of State will, however, as a matter of comity between the executive and legislative branches, keep the Congress appropriately informed of the matters addressed by section 573.

Finally, section 577 requires that the President direct executive agencies possessing information relevant to specified deaths abroad to declassify and release that information. I will direct the Attorney General to coordinate the implementation of this section within the executive branch, so as to produce the requested information in a manner consistent with my constitutional and statutory responsibilities to protect various kinds of sensitive information.

Many provisions of the Act make funds available for particular purposes subject to, in accordance with, or under "the regular notification procedures of the Committee on Appropriations." The executive branch shall construe the reference to the "regular notification procedures" to be a reference to the procedures in section 515 of the Act.

January 10, 2002.

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