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Last Updated:6/25/00
Speech by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California), June 22, 2000
Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, today I voted for S. 2522, the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act. I voted for the bill despite serious reservations about parts of it because it also funds some very important priorities.

First, the bill provides economic and military assistance to some of America's most important allies, at the level requested by the President.

The bill includes $450 million for international family planning programs, less than requested by the President but more than last year.

S. 2522 also provides funding for many very important international programs, including the Peace Corps, U.N. peacekeeping operations, refugee assistance, and antiterrorism efforts.

I am especially pleased that, with the passage of my amendment to add $40 million, the final bill includes $51 million for international tuberculosis control and treatment and $255 million to fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

Unfortunately, attached to the foreign operations bill this year was almost $1 billion in emergency spending for counter-narcotics efforts in Colombia. I am disappointed that the Senate rejected an amendment offered by Senator Wellstone, which I cosponsored, which would have transferred the military aid portion--$225 million--to domestic drug treatment programs.

We would have done more to fight the so-called drug war by putting those dollars into proven drug treatment programs here to reduce demand. A Rand Corporation study found that for every dollar spent on demand reduction you have to spend 23 dollars on supply reduction in order to get the same decrease in drug consumption.

And because I fear that the military assistance may lead to further U.S. involvement in the 40-year-old civil war in Colombia, I tried to offer an amendment to simply affirm current Defense Department policy regarding activities of DoD personnel in Colombia. This policy states that DoD funds may not be used to support training for Colombian counter-insurgency operations, participate in law enforcement activities or counternarcotics field missions, or join in any activity in which counter-narcotics related hostilities are imminent.

I was not allowed a roll call vote on my amendment because the chairman of the Appropriations Committee made a point of order that it was legislation on an appropriations bill. However, less than 24 hours earlier, the Senator from Alabama, Senator Sessions, had an amendment accepted which also dealt with U.S. policy toward Colombia, and which was also subject to the very same point of order. But no senator objected to the Sessions amendment.

This selective enforcement of Senate rules is a double standard and is unfair. I am particularly bothered because I had strong concerns about the Sessions amendment. This is another breakdown in comity and civility in the Senate, and I am very troubled by it.

As of June 25, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S22JN0-125:
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