Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 36° Clear
News >  Nation/World

Bush aid request trimmed

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The House voted Tuesday to significantly slash President Bush’s funding request for an international aid program considered a cornerstone of his campaign to spread democracy.

Money for the program, called the Millennium Challenge Account, is included in the $20.3 billion foreign aid bill the GOP-led House approved on a 393-32 vote.

Overall, the bill for next year is roughly 11 percent less than the president proposed but nearly 4 percent more than this year’s funding. The Senate has yet to write its version of the bill, which provides health, education, counter-narcotics and military assistance to poor nations.

House lawmakers chose to pad several of the president’s other proposals with the $1.25 billion they cut from his request for the Millennium Challenge Account, a program that gives countries extra money if they pursue political, economic and human rights reforms.

Among the winners: a fund to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It’s slated to get $2.7 billion, about a half-billion dollars more than this year and $131 million above the president’s request.

Bush had asked for $3 billion for the third year of the Millennium Challenge Account, double the current funding level. The House bill would provide only $1.75 billion.

Congress has provided $2.5 billion for the program over the last two years – $1.3 billion less than Bush requested. The corporation overseeing the program has spent only about $4 million of that, says the Congressional Research Service, which writes reports for lawmakers.

House lawmakers emphasized they were providing record funding for the program – roughly $262 million more than it provided for the current year – and noted that the corporation hasn’t spent most of the money it already has.

The corporation projects using up all its money by early next year.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.