A Senate subcommittee rejected Tuesday an effort to bar U.S. foreign aid for organizations that perform or support abortions.
On an 8-5 vote, the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations deleted the restrictive language from a bill providing $12.3 billion in foreign aid in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.
The total is $2.4 billion less than the Clinton administration had requested but $300 million more than the House approved in July.
The bill also would cut off aid to Russia if it goes ahead with the sale of nuclear reactors to Iran. So far, Russia has rejected administration appeals that it cancel the reactor sale.The Appropriations Committee is to take up the foreign aid measure Thursday.
The bill passed by the House would bar giving U.S. funds to any groups that support abortion even in countries where the procedure is legal. It also would cut off money for the U.N. Population Fund unless the international group ends all activities in China.
The abortion issue is certain to be raised again when the bill reaches the Senate floor this fall. If the Senate does not restore the restrictive language on abortion, it will set the stage for a confrontation when House and Senate conferees try to resolve differences between the two versions of the legislation.
Military and economic aid to Israel and Egypt, which receive the two largest blocks of U.S. assistance, was approved unchanged from the administration requests of $3 billion for Israel and $2.1 billion for Egypt. The House approved the same amounts.
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