The House voted Wednesday to abolish two foreign affairs agencies, reorganize the State Department and reverse a trend of decreased funding for American diplomacy.
The House, on a voice vote, approved a $6.1 billion authorization bill cluttered with a variety of foreign policy pronouncements, some strongly opposed by President Clinton.
The bill is $228 million below the president’s request but it exceeds this year’s spending by roughly the same amount. Spending for diplomacy and foreign aid, to be included in a separate bill, have been decreasing for several years.
The legislation includes a ban on family planning aid to private groups that have anything to do with abortions, recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided Israeli capital, and a mandatory ban on all aid to Russia if it sells missiles to China - all issues opposed by the administration.
It now goes to the Senate combined with language from a bill supporting NATO expansion. The Foreign Relations Committee begins work on its own bill today.
House approval followed weeks of negotiations in which the Clinton administration agreed to a basic plan that will abolish the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency by Oct. 1, 1998, and the U.S. Information Agency a year later.
The agencies’ work will be taken over by the State Department, which will also tighten its reins over the Agency for International Development.
Under the plan approved by the House, the AID administrator will report to the secretary of state rather than directly to the president as under present law.
A more detailed plan is being put forth by the Senate.
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