12.18.19

Leahy Releases Summary Of Vermont Highlights In The State Department And Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON (WEDNESDAY, Dec. 18, 2019) -- As Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) secured key wins for Vermont in each of the 12 annual Appropriations bills that fund the federal government.  All 12 bills are included in the budget agreement that he and the other top Appropriations leaders negotiated, which groups the 12 bills into two omnibus packages of bills.  The House passed them Tuesday, and the Senate is now debating them and will vote ahead of the Midnight Friday deadline, which will avert another government shutdown.  Leahy co-wrote all of these bills and is a manager of the Senate’s debate.

Leahy also is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations subcommittee that writes the annual budget bills for the State Department and for U.S. foreign operations, the Subcommittee on the State Department And Foreign Operations (SFOPS).

BELOW are summaries of several provisions that Leahy succeeded in including in the SFOPS portions of the agreement.   

  Vermont Highlights

In The State Department And Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
For Fiscal Year 2020

. . . . . . . At-A-Glance . . . . . . .

 Vermont Fisheries/Watersheds

  • $9 million for sea lamprey control, water quality improvements, research, and fish restoration in the Lake Champlain Basin, an increase of $2 million.  The President proposed to eliminate this funding.
  • $500,000 for the protection and restoration of the habitat and associated species of the Lake Memphremagog fishery, double the amount provided last year. The President proposed to eliminate this funding.
  • Additional funding for the multi-year, U.S.-Canadian study on the causes and impacts of, and mitigation options for, flooding in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River watershed.  The President’s proposed budget underfunded the U.S. share for this study.

International Exchange Programs

  • $731 million, an increase compared to last year and roughly $400 million above the President’s proposed budget.  Organizations like School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vt., help implement these programs to promote cross-cultural understanding and American values, including:
    • $5 million for a new Civil Society Exchange Program to provide civil society activists, particularly in underrepresented populations, with the tools, networks, and resources they need to address local challenges.

Vietnam

  • $90 million in economic and development assistance, which is $39 million above the President’s proposal, to continue cooperation on the remediation of Agent Orange/dioxin contaminated sites; expand health/disability programs to assist persons with severe physical or cognitive disabilities in areas sprayed with Agent Orange or contaminated with dioxin; strengthen Vietnam's capacity to address other war legacies; and continue to support Fulbright University Vietnam.  Senator Leahy has led the effort to make this a U.S. priority and to secure this funding for many years, which has resulted in significant improvements in U.S.-Vietnam relations.

Accountability for War Crimes and other Human Rights Abuses, and Assistance for Victims

  • War Victims.  $7.5 million for the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund, and $10 million each for the Afghan Civilian Assistance and Pakistan Civilian Assistance Programs, to help innocent civilians in those countries who are harmed as a result of U.S. military operations; and $13.5 million for the Leahy War Victims Fund to provide assistance to people with disabilities resulting from armed conflict.  The President proposed to eliminate this funding.
  • Leahy Law.  $10 million for the implementation of the Leahy Law to ensure U.S. assistance is not provided to units of foreign security forces that have violated human rights, and to encourage accountability for such crimes, and new language to strengthen compliance with the Law by requiring that governments are informed of units that are ineligible for U.S. assistance when it is provided for government distribution.
  • War Crimes.  A new provision authorizing the use of funds to support investigations, apprehensions, and prosecutions of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
  • Anti Kleptocracy and Human Rights.  The expansion of a provision banning foreign officials who are involved in corruption or human rights abuses from entry to the United States.  The Administration had been narrowly interpreting the provision to apply only to those directly involved in such acts.  The law now also applies to those who are indirectly involved, closing a gap that was exposed after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Global Health Programs

  • $9.1 billion for Global Health Programs, which is $255 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $2.7 billion above the President’s proposed budget, for lifesaving global health programs.
    • HIV/AIDS.  A total of $6.26 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, including $4.37 billion for Department of State programs in support of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is equal to the fiscal year 2019 level and $1.02 billion above the President’s proposed budget; $1.56 billion for a U.S. contribution to the Global Fund, which is $210 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $602 million above the President’s proposal; and $330 million for USAID’s HIV/AIDS programs, which is equal to the fiscal year 2019 level and $330 million above the President’s proposed budget.
  • Polio.  $61 million, which is $2 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $38 million above the President’s proposed budget, for polio prevention programs to build local capacity to identify and monitor outbreaks and plan for and implement immunization programs.

Biodiversity Programs

  • $315 million, which is $30 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $234 million above the President’s proposed budget, for USAID biodiversity conservation programs that protect forests, marine ecosystems, and endangered species; help reduce pollution and other negative environmental impacts; and increase renewable energy access and efficiency.

Education Programs

  • $875 million, which is $75 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $576 million above the President’s proposed budget, for basic education programs to improve the quality of and access to education; $235 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2019 level and $128 million above the President’s proposed budget, for higher education programs, including $15 million for partnerships between U.S. and foreign higher education institutions.

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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693