ACTION NEEDED DURING AUGUST RECESS: The Senate will be taking up major foreign aid legislation when the summer recess ends after Labor Day. For background information, see the letter from Bishop John Ricard to Congress (7/15/03) and Action Alerts on Foreign Operations Appropriations (7/15/03) and Millennium Challenge Account (7/1/03) (www.usccb/sdwp/international/foreignind.htm).
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Urge your Senators to support improvements in two Senate bills focused on critical development and humanitarian needs in the poorest countries. (Similar bills have already passed the House.)
Foreign Operations Appropriations (S. 1426)
- Appropriate $3 B for FYO4 for morally appropriate programs to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB.
- Appropriate $1.3 B for FY04 for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), the amount originally requested by President Bush.
- Appropriate $927 M for State Department's Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account and $50 M for State's Emergency Refugee Migration Assistance (ERMA) account for FY04.
- Make sure that the funding for the above purposes is additional to (not in substitution for) existing funding for child survival and other core development assistance accounts.
- Retain the Mexico City policy, which prevents our foreign aid program from being misused to subsidize organizations that perform and promote abortions in developing nations under the guise of family planning. The Kemp-Kasten appropriations rider preventing support for organizations involved in coercive population programs should also be retained.
- Limit eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to the world's poorest countries;
- Establish a strong "second tier" of eligible countries in order to ensure that MCA eligibility is not limited to an unduly small number of the poorest countries;
- Authorize at least $1.3 B for the MCA for FY04 in addition to existing funding for core development.
INFORMATION: Gerry Flood, 202-541-3167 or Jennifer Holst, 202-541-3199 (www.usccb/sdwp/international/foreignind.shtml).