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June 26, 2000
(Senate)

S. 2522 - FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS BILL, FY 2001
(Sponsors: Stevens (R), Alaska; McConnell (R), Kentucky)

This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on S. 2522, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, FY 2001, as reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.

The President has requested urgently needed supplemental funding to fight against drug production and trafficking in Colombia, to provide disaster assistance to victims of hurricanes and floods in the United States and abroad, to lift crippling debt burdens for the world's poorest countries, and to sustain our military and civilian operations in Kosovo and the region, thereby protecting military readiness. Funding for UN peacekeeping and other stabilization measures in Kosovo is especially important to the eventual successful withdrawal of U.S. troops. The House passed emergency supplemental legislation addressing some of these urgent needs on March 30th.

Regrettably, the President's supplemental request has moved slowly in the Senate and now appears to be bogged down by a number of controversial provisions. These include provisions that would severely hinder the Federal Government's pending tobacco litigation, significant cuts to key international programs, as well as a number of anti-environmental riders and other objectionable provisions. Moreover, the Senate has fragmented our consolidated request into separate bills, slowing the process dramatically and jeopardizing this urgently needed funding. If a bill containing such provisions listed above were presented to the President, the President's senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.

The President's FY 2001 Budget is based on a balanced approach that maintains fiscal discipline, eliminates the national debt, extends the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, provides for an appropriately sized tax cut, establishes a new voluntary Medicare prescription drug benefit, in the context of broader reforms, expands health care coverage to more families, and funds critical investments for our future. An essential element of this approach is ensuring adequate funding for discretionary programs. To this end, the President has proposed discretionary spending limits at levels that we believe are necessary to serve the American people.

Unfortunately, the FY 2001 congressional budget resolution provides inadequate resources for discretionary investments. We need realistic levels of funding for critical government functions that the American people expect their government to perform well, including education, national security, law enforcement, environmental protection, preservation of our global leadership, air safety, food safety, economic assistance for the less fortunate, research and technology, and the administration of Social Security and Medicare. Based on the inadequate budget resolution, this bill fails to address critical needs of the American people.

The Administration appreciates efforts by the Committee to accommodate certain of the President's priorities within the 302(b) allocation. However, the inadequacy of the 302(b) allocations has forced the Committee to make choices that are simply unacceptable. As a result, the Committee bill is more than $1.7 billion, or more than 11 percent, below the program level requested by the President. A bill funded at this level would be grossly inadequate to maintain America's leadership around the world. It would inevitably require reductions from previously enacted levels for programs managed by the Departments of State and the Treasury, the Agency for International Development, and others, as well as preclude funding for important new Presidential initiatives. In addition, the bill does not provide urgently needed FY 2000 supplemental funding to provide debt relief to the world's poorest countries for which the President has proposed an offset.

Finally, the bill contains numerous objectionable provisions and a substantial number of earmarks that would seriously limit the President's ability to conduct an effective foreign policy. If the Congress were to enact a bill that does not provide the resources necessary to conduct an effective foreign policy and resolve the significant language problems in the current bill, the President's senior advisers would have no choice but to recommend that he veto the bill.

FY 2001 FOREIGN OPERATIONS LANGUAGE AND FUNDING

Language Issues

As noted above, the bill has numerous objectionable earmarks and language provisions. The following items are particularly objectionable.

Funding Issues

As noted above, the Committee bill does not provide sufficient funding for a range of programs.

FY 2000 SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS CONTAINED IN THIS BILL

The Administration opposes the three-bill approach taken by the Senate regarding supplemental funding for critical domestic and foreign policy needs. Our specific concerns with these portions of the supplemental legislation attached to the Military Construction and Foreign Operations bills are described below. We want to work with the Congress to ensure that supplemental funding is enacted quickly and that urgent needs are met.

Kosovo and Southeast Europe

The Administration strongly opposes the lack of funding for any of the requests relating to vital U.S. interests in the Balkan region including: $107 million requested for critical United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations ($91 million for Kosovo, $16 million for East Timor); $195 million in SEED funds, of which $93 million would contribute to stabilizing Kosovo; and, $285 million for the security and operational needs of Americans carrying out these programs. The $35 million in requested funding for the Foreign Military Financing Program and the International Military Education and Training, both of which were supported by the House supplemental, will enhance our efforts and ability to assist military reform and reorientation in important nations in the Baltic region and southern Europe.

Failure to provide this funding would sabotage U.S. efforts to gain greater burden sharing by our European allies on economic reconstruction, and put at risk the eventual, successful withdrawal of more than 10,000 U.S. troops. SEED programs constitute the major component of our "exit strategy." Not to provide these funds would be penny-wise and pound-foolish and would undercut our leverage in the multilateral effort to restore peace and democracy in the region. It would also prevent our efforts to carry out the ongoing stabilization process and endanger hard-won progress that has been made to date. Furthermore, continued delay in providing peacekeeping funds would only cause us to accumulate new arrears to the UN and undercut our efforts to reform the UN and reduce our assessment rates.

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Forgiveness Initiative

The bill fails to provide any of the fully offset $210 million supplemental that the President has requested for a contribution to the HIPC Trust Fund, which helps to finance multilateral participation in the Initiative. Without a significant U.S. contribution to the Trust Fund in FY 2000, other donors are unlikely to make additional contributions, and countries that would otherwise be eligible for HIPC debt reduction in FY 2000 will not receive it. In particular, the lack of a U.S. contribution is likely to prevent Bolivia and other eligible Latin American countries from receiving HIPC debt treatment. We urge the Senate in the strongest terms to reconsider its decision not to help reform-minded developing countries focus their internal resources on health, education, and other social sector investments that will reduce poverty for millions of the world's poorest people.

Plan Colombia

The Administration commends the Committee's support for the governments of Colombia and other countries in the region in their fight against drug traffickers and would oppose efforts to reduce this funding. However, the Administration has a number of concerns with the Committee's proposed treatment of funding for Plan Colombia.

Plan Colombia is a comprehensive approach to combating drug production in the region and requires the sustained effort delineated in the Administration's proposal. Under that proposal, funding was requested through both Defense and State Department accounts. The Committee splits this comprehensive approach by addressing needs in the Military Construction bill and the Foreign Operations appropriations bill. This bifurcation is not a sensible way to address an integrated plan.

Setting aside that basic issue, the Administration appreciates the Committee's consideration of the funding requests, particularly in the Military Construction bill for the construction of essential Forward Operating Locations in Ecuador, Curacao, and Aruba. However, we have serious concerns with several funding issues and problematic provisions in both the Military Construction bill and the Foreign Operations bill. The problematic provisions in the Foreign Operations bill include the absence of FY 2001 funding, restrictions on Colombia funding, many cumbersome reporting requirements, and the substitution of Huey II for Blackhawk helicopters, which would greatly hinder the implementation of the Plan.

In particular, the Administration strongly opposes the limitations in the Foreign Operations bill on support for Plan Colombia. This provision, which would forbid the use of funds not appropriated in the FY 2001 Military Construction or Foreign Operations appropriations bills from being used to support Plan Colombia, absent a Presidential request and congressional approval, is very onerous. This language could halt all ongoing counter-drug programs, air traffic surveillance activities, routine military training, intelligence collection activities, basic human needs and development work, agricultural development, and U.S. Customs programs linked to the Andean region, including those funded from appropriations already enacted into law. This amendment also places an extremely restrictive cap on the number of personnel who can operate in Colombia, leaving far too little flexibility to carry out essential training, development programs, and Plan Colombia oversight as needed.

The substitution of the 60 Huey II helicopters for the 30 Blackhawk helicopters is also objectionable. The Huey II helicopters are significantly less capable than Blackhawks, with slower speeds, smaller capacity, and less range. In addition, it would take twice as many Huey IIs as Blackhawks to fulfill the same mission, which means twice as many helicopter pilots would need to be trained, and twice the amount of infrastructure, such as hangar space, would be required.

 

Mozambique Relief and Reconstruction

The Administration has requested $200 million in emergency funding for Mozambique and the region. The Foreign Operations bill provides $25 million, which is utterly inadequate to meet the massive reconstruction needs in Mozambique and other affected countries. We urge the Senate to provide the additional emergency supplemental resources to help Mozambique and the other countries of the region continue their democratic and economic progress.

 

 


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