EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
(THIS STATEMENT HAS BEEN COORDINATED BY OMB WITH THE CONCERNED AGENCIES.)
June 30, 1999
S. 1234 - FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING,
AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATION BILL, FY 2000
Sponsors: (Stevens (R), Alaska; McConnell (R), Kentucky)
This Statement of Administration Policy provides the Administration's views on the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, FY 2000, as reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. As the Senate considers the Committee-reported bill, your consideration of the Administration's views would be appreciated.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's efforts to accommodate some of the Administration's priorities within its 302(b) allocation. However, the inadequacy of the 302(b) allocation has forced the Committee to make choices that are simply unacceptable.
The allocation of discretionary resources available to the Senate under the Congressional Budget Resolution is simply inadequate to make the necessary investments that our citizens need and expect. The President's FY 2000 Budget proposes levels of discretionary spending that meet such needs while conforming to the Bipartisan Budget Agreement by making savings proposals in mandatory and other programs available to help finance this spending. Congress has approved, and the President has signed into law, nearly $29 billion of such offsets in appropriations legislation since 1995. The Administration urges the Congress to consider such proposals.
This legislation is a critical element of America's national security budget. As a result of the inadequate 302(b) allocation for Foreign Operations, the Committee bill is more than $1.9 billion, or 13 percent, below the program level requested by the President, which would result in the severe under-funding of a number of crucial programs. A bill funded at this level would be grossly inadequate to maintain America's leadership around the world. It inevitably would require severe reductions from previously enacted levels for programs managed by the Departments of State and Treasury, the Agency for International Development, and other agencies.
The bill provides neither the $500 million requested by the President to support the Wye River Agreement, nor any of the $800 million requested as an FY 1999 supplemental appropriation. It also would significantly increase our arrears to various multilateral development banks, after three years of bipartisan progress in reducing these arrears, thus undermining our leadership in these institutions. The Committee's decision not to fund the Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative undermines our ability to reduce the proliferation threat and continue the elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The cut in funding for debt reduction programs would preclude our leadership in reducing debt of the poorest countries. Given current tensions on the Korean peninsula and the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed there, the reduction for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) is ill-advised.
Moreover, the bill contains substantial earmarks and objectionable restrictions on language which, when combined with the reduced funding level, would seriously limit the President's flexibility to conduct an effective foreign policy. Various provisions concerning Kosovo, in the context of difficult and fluid circumstances on the ground, are particularly ill-advised. For example, the earmark to train and equip a security force in Kosovo would reduce the Administration's flexibility and, given current intra-Kosovar rivalries, could threaten the lives of American military and civilian peacekeepers. The designation of Serbia as a terrorist state would have the unintended consequence of cutting off aid to Front Line and other states, even if they provide only humanitarian assistance to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. The total prohibition on assistance to Russia pending certification that Russia is not assisting Iran's development of nuclear and ballistic missile technologies would complicate our efforts to achieve those very goals and would undermine other vital American interests in ensuring constructive relations with a more stable Russia.
If the Congress were to enact a bill that does not resolve the significant funding and language problems in the current Committee bill, as discussed in this Statement of Administration Position and its attachment, the President's senior advisers would have no choice but to recommend that he veto the bill.
Detailed comments on the Senate Committee-reported bill are provided in the attachment.
S. 1234 FOREIGN OPERATIONS, EXPORT FINANCING, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS BILL, FY 2000
(AS REPORTED BY THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE)
For the following accounts, the Administration urges the Senate to restore funding to the levels in the President's FY 2000 request.
Multilateral Development Banks. The reduction of $444 million, or 32 percent, by the Committee to the President's request for the Multilateral Development Banks would unravel the progress made in the FY 1998 and 1999 appropriations towards meeting the past-due obligations of the United States to these institutions and in meeting our continued obligations to them at the much-reduced level that has been negotiated over recent years. In particular, the lack of any funding whatsoever for the African Development Fund and the drastic cuts in the requests for the Global Environment Facility and the Asian Development Fund would call into question the willingness of other donors to continue their support for these critical institutions at the very point when their support for environmental and economic development is most needed.
Southeast Europe and Kosovo. The Administration appreciates the increase in Support for Eastern Europe Democracy (SEED) funding in recognition of U.S. security interests in restoring and sustaining stability in Southeast Europe. However, we strongly oppose the earmarks of the SEED account, earmarks that, if enacted, would eviscerate the President's flexibility in meeting any unanticipated economic stabilization needs in this war-ravaged region. In addition, the funding limitations on Bosnia would only increase the risk that the peace we have worked to establish in that country could begin to unravel just as the Kosovo conflict shows signs of abatement.
With regard to Kosovo, the Administration is strongly opposed to language which, coupled with the language contained in the Committee report, could be interpreted as aimed at training and equipping the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a policy prescription diametrically at odds with the recent agreement by the KLA to disarm under NATO supervision. If adopted, we believe this provision could threaten the lives of American military and civilian peacekeepers and humanitarian care providers, particularly in view of current intra-Kosovar rivalries.
The Administration also strongly opposes the designation of the Government of Serbia as a state sponsor of international terrorism and gross human rights violator. While egregious, the actions taken by officials of that Government against the Kosovar people do not constitute "international terrorism" as that term is used in U.S. terrorism legislation. The provision contains neither a waiver, nor an authority to "de-designate" and would impinge on the authority of the Secretary of State. Moreover, the bill's designation of Serbia as a state sponsor of international terrorism could have the unintended consequence of imposing sanctions on Front Line States and other countries that, whether because humanitarian or other concerns, provide assistance of any kind to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This could further destabilize an already war-torn region and make more difficult the task of assuring stability in the broader region.
Sec. 567 -- Restrictions on Assistance to Countries Providing Sanctuary to Indicted War Criminals. While the Administration appreciates the Committee's desire to speed the apprehension and trial of war criminals, the Administration opposes any provision that would increase restrictions in current law on former Yugoslav entities harboring war criminals as too restrictive, unnecessary, too burdensome in implementation, and jeopardizing successful Dayton implementation.
Assistance to the Newly Independent States (NIS). The Committee bill would reduce the President's request for assistance to the NIS by 24 percent, and over half of the $780 million that is provided would be earmarked for three countries in the region. This would leave little in funding for reforming countries such as Moldova, or to fund the vitally important Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative. The reduction in the Committee bill would also reduce funding for programs that the Senate has supported aimed at fostering grass root support for reform in the region, including micro-lending and exchange programs. Such cuts would undermine our efforts to help the countries of the region to become integrated into the global economy and play constructive roles in global affairs. They equally would make it more difficult to press for further market reforms and to support democratic forces across the region.
The Administration strongly opposes conditioning all assistance to Russia on a certification that Russia is not assisting the Government of Iran's development of nuclear and ballistic missile technologies. This would complicate our efforts to achieve those very goals and would undermine other vital American interests in ensuring constructive relations with a more stable Russia.
Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative (ETRI). The Committee provides no support for proposed increases for this critical national security initiative. We have made dramatic strides in securing nuclear materials and important progress in strengthening export controls in these countries. The primary objective of the Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative is to further reduce international security threats by expanding and accelerating U.S. and international assistance activities in Russia and the other NIS to address high priority security and proliferation concerns. This initiative has received wide support in Western Europe and Japan. The costs of having to defend against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation are enormous. At a fraction of such costs, the international community can join together to reduce the proliferation threat through ETRI.
Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). The Administration strongly objects to the bill's provisions concerning KEDO. The cut of $15 million, or 20 percent, in funding for KEDO could prevent the United States from fulfilling its commitments under the Agreed Framework to provide heavy fuel oil to North Korea and could damage our nonproliferation policy on the Korean Peninsula. Restrictions on funding relating to North Korean missile exports and "nuclear capability" would also jeopardize our ability to meet our commitments on the peninsula. Stopping North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs, including its exports, are a priority goal of the Administration and a key focus of Secretary Perry's review of U.S. policy, but any failure by the United States to uphold the Agreed Framework risks giving North Korea an excuse to develop both ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. In addition, the requirement for a 45-day delay in Presidential certification would seriously undermine our ability to maintain the funding schedule for KEDO. Finally, we strongly oppose the prohibition on use of Economic Support Fund (ESF) funds for KEDO, which would unduly restrict the President's flexibility to deal with unexpected foreign policy developments.
Wye River and Middle Eastern Assistance. The Committee bill fails to provide any of the $500 million requested by the President for FY 2000 to support the Wye River Agreement, nor does it provide any of the $800 million requested as an FY 1999 supplemental appropriation for this purpose. Given the renewed dedication of all sides to the peace process, this complete lack of funding would undercut the U.S. Government's efforts to support this historic opportunity to strengthen the peace process and move toward a permanent agreement.
The Administration continues to welcome the efforts of the Committee to ramp down traditional levels of assistance to countries in the Middle East. However, the Administration is disappointed both at the Committee's failure to accept our specific proposal for a gradual reduction in aid to Israel and Egypt and with the Committee's decision not to incorporate the provision of an Interest Bearing Account for a portion of Egypt's Foreign Military Financing (FMF). The Administration will work with the Congress on the scoring implication of this proposal.
Economic Support Fund (ESF). The reduction of almost $200 million to the President's request for non-Wye River ESF would effectively remove any discretion that the President has to respond to a host of threats around the world. These cuts would force the reduction or elimination of programs intended to increase political stability and democratization in Africa; support democracy efforts in Guatemala, Peru, and Ecuador; sustain implementation of the Belfast Good Friday Accord; bolster democratic reform and economic recovery in Asia; and, support Arab/Israeli cooperation programs in the Middle East.
Debt Reduction. The cut of almost two-thirds to the President's request for debt reduction programs, from $120 million to $43 million, would cripple our ability to fund the bipartisan debt for environment program that was enacted by the Congress last year and would damage our ability to contribute to the Trust Fund for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries, which is an essential component of current debt reduction programs as well as of the historic debt initiative agreed to in Cologne. This initiative has received broad support from governments, multilateral institutions, religious groups, and individuals worldwide.
Peacekeeping Operations. The Committee's $50 million, or 38 percent, cut to the President's request for voluntary peacekeeping operations would decrease funds available for Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) missions in Bosnia and Croatia, significantly reduce assistance for the African Crisis Response Initiative, and eliminate funding for Haiti. In doing so, such a substantial reduction would also raise international concern that the United States may not support its fair share of the international police force that will help to implement the Kosovo peace settlement, for which new resources will be needed.
International Narcotics and Crime. The cut of $80 million, or 27 percent, to the President's request for International Narcotics and Crime programs would significantly impact programs designed to implement the National Drug Control Strategy, including alternative development efforts in Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia, and would reduce our support for the U.N. Drug Control Program and other important multilateral anti-narcotics efforts. A cut of this magnitude would also significantly undercut the Administration's programs in support of the President's new International Crime Control Strategy, which was released in May 1998.
Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs. The Committee has cut these programs by $56 million, or 24 percent, from the President's request. In addition to the reduction for KEDO discussed separately, the request for export control assistance would be cut by two-thirds (from $15 million to $5 million). This would greatly slow our efforts to assist the NIS and other regions to develop tighter controls to prevent nuclear smuggling.
Peace Corps. The Administration is very concerned by the Committee's $50 million, or 19 percent, reduction to the President's request for the Peace Corps. This reduction, which would cut funding by over $20 million from the FY 1999 enacted level, would require the Peace Corps to reduce the current level of volunteers by over 1,000. It would also prevent implementation of the bipartisan initiative to field 10,000 volunteers in the new century. This Administration goal was enacted into law in 1985 as "the policy of the United States and the purpose of the Peace Corps," and was confirmed in this year's Peace Corps reauthorization (which was approved by the Senate by unanimous consent).
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for a number of the Administration's development initiatives. In particular, the Committee's support for the "School Works" program will provide important resources for the fight against child labor.
However, the Committee bill and accompanying Senate Committee Report contain an unprecedented number of earmarks, directives and recommendations for funding, with over 30 earmarks in bill language and over 60 directives or recommendations in report language. When combined with the degree of specificity for funding -- in some cases down to the project type and appointed grant recipient -- these produce an unmatched and unwarranted level of micro-management.
The Administration appreciates the increase over FY 1999 in funding for USAID's operating expenses. However, the reduction of almost $13 million from the request, coupled with the higher-than-anticipated costs of improving security at overseas posts, would force USAID to reduce its permanent staff by even more positions than already planned. P.L. 105-277, the FY 1999 Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act mandated the transfer of the security function to USAID from its Inspector General.
Although sufficient disaster assistance resources have been provided for Kosovo through supplemental appropriations, the 20-percent reduction to the Administration's FY 2000 disaster assistance request would limit USAID's ability to meet humanitarian needs in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa. It would also threaten USAID's ability to provide assistance to the victims of nuclear, chemical, or biological disasters abroad, and would limit the ability of Office of Transition Initiatives to provide needed assistance to countries that are making the transition from conflict situations.
The Administration is disappointed that the Committee has not approved transfer authority for the Development Credit Authority. USAID's recent implementation of a credit management out-sourcing contract and other credit management improvements justifies continued funding of this innovative new credit mechanism.
The Administration is concerned that its request for reinstatement of the Development Fund for Africa (DFA) is not included in the bill. Funding provided under the DFA affords needed stability to respond to development opportunities in Africa, as well as to complex crises on a fragile continent, and maintains our strong commitment to an Africa in transition.
Finally, we are concerned that the Committee has not approved the requested authority for USAID to create a Working Capital Fund similar to those already available to the Department of State and other agencies. We hope to work with the Senate to give USAID the means to capture the costs of becoming a service provider to other agencies under the ICASS system and, therefore, encourage competition among agencies to provide the lowest-cost and most efficient services.
Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA). The Committee's $50 million reduction to the President's request for MRA would require a reduction in annual refugee admissions to the United States of up to 10,000. A reduction of this magnitude also would eliminate resources for an initiative to address programming shortfalls in Africa and South Asia necessary to provide life-saving, minimum international standards of assistance in key sectors (including nutrition, shelter, medicine, sanitation, and protection). Such reductions in assistance to refugees in Africa and elsewhere at the very time huge resources are going into Kosovo would create serious political and equity issues.
Export and Investment Financing. The Administration appreciates the Committee's effort to support the President's export initiative by increasing funding for the Export-Import Bank, especially the administrative budget, which is essential to the Bank's efforts to increase small business exports. We urge the Senate, as this bill progresses, to increase the Bank's credit subsidy budget to the President's requested level to enable U.S. exporters to continue to export to the developing world during the ongoing economic downturn.
The Administration is very concerned about the reduction in funding for the Trade and Development Agency (TDA) below both the President's request and the FY 1999 enacted level. The request for TDA is an integral part of the President's export initiative, and the Committee bill would significantly reduce TDA's ability to fund feasibility studies that help U.S. exporters take advantage of potential market opportunities.
Likewise, the Administration is very concerned about the reduction in administrative expenses for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. This $3.5 million reduction below the request, or $1 million below the FY 1999 enacted level, could threaten the agency's capability to operate in a financially responsible and prudent manner, and runs counter to efforts to mobilize U.S. private sector support for key foreign policy priorities.
The Administration believes the Senate provision mandating OPIC to establish an investment fund is inappropriate because it would eliminate OPIC's discretion to determine whether such a fund is financially viable.
African Development and Inter-American Foundations. The Administration strongly objects to the suspension of funding for the Inter-America Foundation. It is inappropriate to suspend funding for an entire agency as the result of the alleged improprieties of individual staff members.
The Administration appreciates the Committee's efforts to support the African Development Foundation (ADF). However, the Committee's funding level of $12.5 million still falls short of the amount necessary for the ADF to continue its important work of supporting Africans at the grassroots level, including micro-credit and trade and investment programs. The Committee has previously acknowledged the ADF's improvements in private sector outreach, as well as the Foundation's streamlining of operations.
International Organizations & Programs. The Administration opposes the $22 million cut in the request for IO&P's. Further, while we strongly support the programs earmarked by the Committee, the Administration must retain its flexibility in funding these programs, consistent with an overall assessment of the national interest.
Treasury International Affairs Technical Assistance. The Administration is concerned that the Committee provided only $1.5 million of the $8.5 million request for the Department of the Treasury's International Affairs Technical Assistance program. These resources are necessary to fund the Department's plan to provide technical assistance to Ministries of Finance and Central Banks that are attempting to implement fiscal and financial reforms in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Silk Road Strategy Act. The Administration strongly supports passage of the Silk Road Strategy Act, which may be added to the bill as an amendment. We appreciate the Committee's continued efforts to reduce restrictions in section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act. This Administration, like its predecessors, has opposed section 907 and called for its repeal. Section 907 damages U.S. national interests by undermining the United States' neutrality in seeking to promote a settlement in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute; by restricting our ability to provide assistance that would encourage economic and broad legal reforms in Azerbaijan; and, by limiting our efforts to advance an east-west energy transport corridor. While the Silk Road Strategy Act does not provide for the full repeal of Section 907 that the Administration has sought, it would allow the President to waive these restrictions if he determined that they were not in the national interest of the United States.