11.18.2005

U.S. Foreign Spending Measure and Democracy Promotion

President Bush signed into law the foreign spending bill for the fiscal year 2006 (FY06).

The foreign spending bill is an extremely important tool in implementing the U.S. policy and serving its interests and objectives. Promoting democracy worldwide, especially in the Middle East, is our valuable aim, which must take advantage of this measure. The increasing room for the democratization policy within the foreign spending bill is something gradual and in need of time to get more applicable and harmonious with the many-objectives policy, considering the huge role and commitments of the U.S. in the world. But the start is possible and required currently. This fact, besides the importance of the deliberate pro-democracy policy to the U.S. interests and strategic position in the 21st century, must become clear to the U.S. congress.

Considering all, I don not say that the democratic considerations must constitute basic conditions to the foreign aid at this time. that would not be a realistic manner. What I hope is to take those considerations into account at delivering the foreign aid. Evolving somehow a flexible linkage between the foreign aid and the democratization policy would be helpful and significant as a part of the comprehensive pursuit of democracy promotion worldwide and particularly in the Middle East.

The basing on legal stipulations is a required advanced practice. I extremely hail the clause of economic assistance of Egypt, which obliges the Egyptian government to undertake "significant economic and political reforms which are additional to those which were undertaken in previous fiscal years".

The direct aid to the civil society and NGOs which intend the democratic improvement or transformation is indispensable for democracy promotion. However, this kind of aid is in many cases subject to political conditions particularly with regard to undemocratic governments. And I think it is something relative to the international order and norms and their development as I said in many previous posts.

Following is an outline of the 2006 foreign aid spending measure:

Bush Signs $20.9 Billion 2006 Foreign Aid Spending Measure

Bill boosts anti-AIDS budget, trims funds for new aid program

By Kathryn McConnell
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- President Bush signed into law November 14 a $20.9 billion foreign spending bill for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006 (FY06).

A committee of Senate and House of Representatives negotiators agreed to the final version of the bill in early November. The House adopted the measure November 4 by a vote of 358-39 and the Senate by a 91-0 vote on November 10.

The measure provides $2.8 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis worldwide, exceeding by $258 million the amount requested by President Bush and by $629 million the 2005 appropriated amount.

Congress approved $1.77 billion for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which administers the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). The MCA is a Bush administration foreign aid initiative established in early 2004 to reinforce sound political, economic and social policies in developing countries. Bush had requested $3 billion for the MCA.

The measure provides funding for bilateral U.S. aid programs as well as global health and security initiatives, U.S. support for international financial institutions and other programs. Highlights of the measure include:

MIDDLE EAST, SOUTH ASIA, SUDAN

• Israel -- $2.3 billion in military aid -- a $60 million increase over 2005 levels -- and $240 million in economic assistance;

• Egypt -- $1.3 billion in military aid and $495 million in economic assistance, provided that Egypt undertakes "significant economic and political reforms which are additional to those which were undertaken in previous fiscal years";

• Jordan -- $250 million in economic assistance;

• West Bank and Gaza -- $2 million in development assistance for programs to be administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID);

The bill also provides $430 million for Afghanistan -- more than double the 2005 amount; $300 million in military aid for Pakistan; $70 million for development assistance for Sudan; and $10 million in economic support for the states of the former Soviet Union.

GLOBAL AID PROGRAMS

• $791 million for migration and refugee assistance;

• $477.2 million for narcotics control and law enforcement and $734.5 million to support counterdrug activities in the Andean region of South America;

• $410.1 million to support nonproliferation, anti-terrorism and demining;

• $322 million for the Peace Corps;

• $95 million to promote democracy and improvements in the governance, human rights and independent media of emerging economies;

• $80 million for the Global Environment Facility, which helps developing countries fund programs related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants; and

• $4 million for programs that address the needs and protect the rights of people with disabilities in developing countries.

INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

• $950 million for the International Development Agency (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group that provides long-term interest-free loans and grants to the poorest developing countries; and

• $100 million for the Asian Development Fund, $3.64 million for the African Development Bank, $135.7 million for the African Development Fund and $1.74 million to the Enterprise for the Americas Multilateral Investment Fund.

To help enhance military security the bill provides $30 to the Philippines, $3 million to Mongolia; and $1 million each to Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.
Legislators reduced to $61 million the amount for reconstruction programs in Iraq, saying funds remain from money already appropriated for Iraq. The administration had requested $459 million.

The funding measure would also provide $65 million for the sale, reduction or cancellation of debt owed to the United States by eligible poor countries.

It stipulates that no funding shall be made available to pay for abortions as a method of family planning.

The bill also includes money for the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), which provides loans, loan guarantees and grants to credit-worthy U.S. exporters; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an agency that through loans helps U.S. businesses invest in economic development projects in new and emerging markets; and the Trade and Development Agency (TDA), which funds technical assistance, feasibility studies, training, and other activities that support the development of infrastructures and fair and open trading environments in developing countries.

Ex-Im Bank is to receive $100 million, OPIC $20.28 million and TDA $50.9 million.