06.27.08

Senate Passes Gregg-Leahy Provision In Supplemental Appropriations Bill Requiring Iraq To Match U.S. Foreign Assistance For Iraq On A Dollar-For-Dollar Basis Provision Will Ensure Equal Buy-In By Government Of Iraq In Rebuilding Efforts And Provide Greater Accountability For Investment By U.S. Taxpayers

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) Friday announced that the Senate late Thursday night passed a supplemental appropriations bill that includes their provision that for the first time requires the Government of Iraq to match U.S. foreign assistance on a dollar-for-dollar basis. 

The provision excludes the matching requirement for programs to promote democracy, human rights, humanitarian demining, and assistance to civil society organizations, refugees, internally displaced persons and civilian victims of military conflict.  The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 92 to 6.  The bill now goes to the desk of President Bush, who is expected to sign it into law.

Leahy said, “For the first time, Congress requires the Iraqi Government to match U.S. taxpayer dollars for reconstruction programs.  We want to continue to help Iraq, but when Iraq is earning record profits from the skyrocketing price of oil, it is only right that they share the cost.  Our law also requires a strategy to root out corruption within the Iraqi Government.  I was pleased to join with Senator Gregg in this initiative.”    

Gregg said, “There is no reason why the Government of Iraq should not assume greater costs — and ultimately all costs — of rebuilding their nation.  Requiring the GoI to equally contribute funding is a positive step forward in Iraq’s progress toward becoming a viable and prosperous nation.  The people of Iraq -- not the American taxpayer -- should shoulder the costs of reconstruction in the current fiscal environment, and I am pleased that Senator Leahy and I were able to include this provision in the supplemental.” 

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