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House Returns For Overseas Aid Debate

A slew of spending bills awaits House action this month

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sep. 3) -- The House, back in session after a monthlong recess, will take up a persistent, thorny issue this afternoon: international aid to family planning groups.

The big job this month will be to pass appropriations measures that put in place the balanced budget agreement that Congress and President Bill Clinton agreed to before their summer get-aways.

But first, House members have to wrap up details of a $12.3 billion international operations spending bill, which funds foreign aid, international economic development and wipes out much of the United States' $1 billion debt to the United Nations.

The House reconvened at noon EDT, but the first votes aren't expected before 5 p.m. EDT. Members will consider a proposal by Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) to deny aid to family planning groups that subsidize abortions overseas.

"The issue comes down to whether U.S. taxpayers will contribute $400 million to the international abortion industry," Smith told The Associated Press.

Smith's legislation would deny aid to family planning groups, even if the groups use their own funds to subsidize abortions overseas. Since 1993, Republicans have been trying to reinstate the policy, which was followed by the Reagan and Bush administrations, but abandoned by the Clinton Administration.

An alternate measure by Benjamin A. Gilman (R-N.Y.) and Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.) would allow aid to overseas groups that do not promote abortion as a method of family planning.

The Senate passed a $13.3 billion foreign operations bill in July, so whatever happens to the Smith language, the bills are headed to conference committee. The Senate version includes a one-time $3.5 billion contribution to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) program aimed at preventing currency fluctuations, which is not in the House bill.

Once the foreign operations bill debate is over, members will turn to a $279 billion bill funding the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education departments.


In Other News:

Wednesday Sept. 3, 1997

Arizona Gov. Symington Guilty
Justice Looking At Gore's Fund-raising Calls
At Least Two Nuns To Testify Thursday
Anti-Smoking Amendment Moves Forward In Senate
The Buddhist Temple Event: Papers On The Trail
White House Releases Documents On Gore Fund-raiser
Drudge Strikes Back, Sort Of
House Returns For Overseas Aid Debate

E-mail From Washington:
Burton Asks White House To Explain New Fund-Raising Documents





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