GOP Plans Funding Boost for Military, Drug War

GOP Plans Funding Boost for Military, Drug War
Posted by FoM on March 08, 2000 at 05:31:22 PT
By Eric Pianin & Karen DeYoung, WP Staff Writers
Source: Washington Post
House GOP leaders intend to press this week for approval of nearly $9 billion of additional spending this year for anti-drug efforts in Colombia, military operations in Kosovo and dozens of other programs and initiatives that far exceed the funding sought by President Clinton.The administration requested an addition $5.2 billion for fiscal 2000, but under pressure from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and other Republican leaders, the House Appropriations Committee is preparing to vote Thursday on a more generous measure that would be financed out of the projected surplus.
The extra funds would in part cover the military's mounting fuel costs and support its financially troubled health insurance program, as well as upgrading its F-15 jet fighter program. There is also money for NASA, the Coast Guard, fire safety and highway emergency disaster funds.The measure includes the $1.3 billion requested by Clinton for combating drug traffickers in Colombia. But at Hastert's behest, more funds were added for anti-drug efforts in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru."Obviously the speaker is very enthusiastic about the anti-drug package," said John Feehery, a spokesman for Hastert. "Fighting the war on drugs is probably one of the best ways we can help the youth of the country."The bill is likely to be approved on Thursday, but it faces an uncertain future because of controversy among Republicans and Democrats alike over the wisdom of U.S. involvement in Colombia, concerns about human rights violations by the Colombian military and disagreements over which part of the Colombian government should get the money."I think that there's a great deal of angst about the Colombian portion of this," said an aide to Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee.Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) shaped the package following hearings over the past several weeks at which members raised complaints and questions about the wisdom of the anti-drug policy.According to committee sources, the measure increases the administration's original request of $955 million in emergency funds for this fiscal year and $318 million for fiscal 2001--to $1.7 billion.Much of the increase--$300 million--would go to the Justice Department under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The money would reimburse telecommunications companies for the cost of enhancing the government's ability to conduct court-ordered domestic wiretaps on the sophisticated equipment used by drug smugglers.Other changes reflect conflicting views on the wisdom of assisting the Colombian National Police, held in high esteem for anti-narcotics successes by Hastert and International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman (R-N.Y.), rather than the Colombian armed forces.The committee bill includes $115.5 million for the police, $25 million more than the administration requested. It also takes $31 million in funding away from the military--a relative pittance, since the bulk of the program is for military equipment and training--and shifts to the police two of the 30 Black Hawk helicopters the administration requested for the Colombian Air Force.Sources said the changes had been coordinated with the administration and little White House opposition is expected. By Eric Pianin and Karen DeYoungWashington Post Staff WritersWednesday, March 8, 2000; Page A10  Copyright 2000 The Washington Post CompanyRelated Articles:The U.S. Is Setting A Trap for Itself In Colombia Rebels Declare War on United States Colombia Drug War To Take 5 Yrs the New Drug Lords - Newsweek International 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by DDDD on March 08, 2000 at 17:41:01 PT
Here we go again with yet more crooked and absurd use of our tax money on the scam that is the drug war.How many new schools could we build for 5 BILLION dollars,(5 billion is 5 thousand million!).Perhaps we should get military contractors,and prison builders to switch over to school construction.There is a strange silence surrounding the drug war.I wonder why?............D
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: