This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:6/25/00
U.S. Government Information:
The Full Senate

Overview of key Colombia-related votes
Key Senate members

The U.S. Senate approved its version of the Colombia aid package on June 22, when it approved the 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (S. 2522) -- which includes most of the package -- by a 95-4 vote.

The Senate rejected four amendments that would have affected the Colombia aid:

  • By a vote of 89 to 11, the Senate chose to table -- to "kill" without further consideration or vote -- an amendment proposed by Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota). The Wellstone amendment sought to transfer some military aid funds into domestic drug treatment. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]
  • The Senate rejected, by a vote of 79 to 19, an amendment by Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Washington) that would cut all but $200 million of the Colombia aid package. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

  • By a vote of 51 to 47, the Senate turned down an amendment by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) that would have allowed the U.S. Defense Department, in consultation with the Colombian military, to choose the model of helicopter -- UH-60 Blackhawk or UH-1H Huey -- most appropriate to give to the Colombian armed forces. The administration's request included thirty Blackhawks; the Senate version of the bill removed the Blackhawks and replaced them with Hueys. Blackhawks are manufactured in Sen. Dodd's home state of Connecticut. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

  • An amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California), which would have limited the involvement of U.S. troops in Colombia, was rejected on a point of order, as it sought to change standing law in a yearly appropriations bill. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

Several amendments of marginal importance were added to the Colombia package:

  • By voice vote, the Senate passed a largely symbolic amendment, proposed by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), reaffirming the United States' support for the Colombian government in its fight against insurgent groups. [Text of amendment]
  • By voice vote, the Senate passed a non-binding "Sense of the Senate" resolution, proposed by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), on American citizens kidnapped in Colombia. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]
  • By voice vote, the Senate approved amendments by Sen. Robert Byrd making corrections to the bill, including a doubling of the earlier "cap" on U.S. military personnel allowed in Colombia. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

The Senate's version of the aid package changed little since the Senate Appropriations Committee approved it on May 9. It still provides less military aid than the administration's proposal and the House version, and includes strong human rights conditions. It has been attached to two 2001 budget bills. Over ninety percent of the aid is part of the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (S. 2522). The rest, mainly military training and aircraft upgrades (about $48 million), is attached to the Military Construction Appropriations bill (S. 2521), which the full Senate approved on May 18.

The Debate

June 20:

Senators spent an hour on June 20 giving statements introducing the bill.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the chairman of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, introduced the entire bill and spent a few moments expressing support for its Colombia provisions. [Statement]
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, introduced the bill and expressed reservations about the Colombia provisions. [Statement]
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) announced his intention to introduce an amendment, to be debated on June 21, which explicitly affirms U.S. support for the Colombian government in its fight against insurgent groups. [Statement] [Text of amendment]

June 21:

Debate began on an amendment introduced by Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota), which sought to transfer $225 million from the "Push into Southern Colombia" section of the aid package into domestic drug-treatment grants. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

  • While Sen. Wellstone awaited final language of his amendment, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) spoke against the measure. [Statement]
  • Sen. Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Wellstone introduced his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Wellstone spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Wellstone spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) spoke in favor of the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Georgia) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Wellstone spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Wellstone read a statement by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) in favor of his amendment. [Statement]

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) introduced an amendment which explicitly affirms U.S. support for the Colombian government in its fight against insurgent groups. [Statement] [Text of amendment] The amendment was approved by a voice vote.

By a vote of 89 to 11, the Senate chose to table -- to "kill" without further consideration or vote -- the Wellstone amendment.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) introduced a non-binding "Sense of the Senate" resolution on American citizens kidnapped in Colombia. It passed by unanimous consent. [Statement] [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

Debate began on an amendment introduced by Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Washington), which sought to cut all but $200 million from the Colombia aid package. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

  • Sen. Gorton introduced his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]

Further debate on the Gorton amendment was postponed, and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) introduced an amendment that would would have allowed the U.S. Defense Department, in consultation with the Colombian military, to choose the model of helicopter -- UH-60 Blackhawk or UH-1H Huey -- most appropriate to give to the Colombian armed forces. This amendment would have effectively restored the more expensive Blackhawk helicopters to the Senate's version of the aid package. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

  • Sen. Dodd introduced his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) spoke in favor of the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Dodd spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. McConnell spoke against the amendment. [Statement]

Further debate on the Dodd amendment was postponed.

  • Sen. John Warner (R-Virginia) spoke in favor of the aid package. [Statement]
  • Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) spoke against the Gorton amendment. [Statement]

  • Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) spoke against the aid package. [Statement]

  • Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida) spoke against the Gorton amdendment. [Statement]

  • Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut) spoke in favor of the Dodd amendment. [Statement]

  • Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Washington) spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]

By a vote of 79 to 19, the Senate defeated the Gorton amendment.

  • Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) spoke against the Dodd amendment. [Statement]

By a vote of 51 to 47, the Senate defeated the Dodd amendment.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) introduced an amendment making small corrections to the bill. The most significant change: Byrd raised the "cap" on the number of U.S. military personnel allowed in Colombia to 500 uniformed military personnel and 300 defense contractor personnel. (An amendment Byrd submitted in committee had set "caps" of 250 military personnel and 100 contractors.) [Text of amendment (.pdf version)] The amendments passed by voice vote.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) spoke in favor of the aid package. [Statement]

June 22:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) introduced an amendment that sought to limit the involvement of U.S. military personnel in Colombia to counternarcotics missions only. [Text of amendment (.pdf version)]

  • Sen. Boxer introduced her amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Boxer spoke in favor of her amendment. [Statement]
  • Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) spoke in favor of the amendment. [Statement]

Sen. Boxer's amendment was ruled out of order on the grounds that it sought to change existing law (to "authorize") on an annual appropriations bill.

  • Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) praised the aid package's human rights conditions. [Statement]
  • Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) spoke in favor of the aid package. [Statement]
  • Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) spoke in favor of the aid package. [Statement]
  • Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) spoke in favor of the aid package, defending the "troop cap" he added to the bill. [Statement]
  • Sen. James Jeffords (R-Vermont) spoke in favor of the aid package. [Statement]
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) spoke against the aid package. [Statement]

The Senate approved the entire Foreign Operations Appropriations bill by a vote of 95 to 4.

  • Majority Leader Sen. Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) remarked that many were "surprised by the show of support" for the Colombia aid package. [Statement]

Key Members in the Senate debate

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