Senator Leahy is among the Senate's most ardent proponents of humanitarian and development aid to the world's poorest countries. For more than two decades, he has been either the Chairman or the Ranking Member of the Department of State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.
Every year, Congress considers a foreign aid appropriations bill that contains funds to combat HIV/AIDS and many other diseases that kill or sicken hundreds of millions of people each year. The bill funds international environmental programs which, among many other things protect tropical forests, endangered species and the ozone layer. It contains billions of dollars for disaster and famine relief, aid for refugees and other humanitarian programs. It funds activities to protect human rights, support war crimes tribunals and train judges and lawyers in countries with no tradition of the rule of law. It funds reconstruction programs in Afghanistan, as well as our contributions to peacekeeping forces around the world, and our programs to combat organized crime, drug trafficking and the trafficking of women and children.
The bill provides hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians to help regional stability, and aid to more than 100 other countries. It supports our contributions to the United Nations, the World Bank and educational and cultural exchange programs. It funds the costs of operating and protecting U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. And it funds emergency efforts when needed, such as in the aftermath of the 2013 Japanese tsunami, and the earthquakes that devastated Nepal in 2015.
The relationships between the U.S. and other countries, and the U.S.'s role as an international leader, are supported by our willingness to aid other countries in need. Foreign aid is essential to many U.S.-backed programs around the world, as well as protecting our national security interests abroad. Senator Leahy is committed to promoting efforts abroad that improve the quality of life for people around the globe.