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:1/7/04
U.S. Government Information:
Legislation

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2003: the debate over U.S. aid in 2004

Relevant text of House and Senate bills

On February 3, 2003, The Bush Administration submitted its budget request for 2004. The foreign aid, or Foreign Operations, bill (which includes the vast majority of aid for the region) would provide Colombia with about $424 million in military aid and $150 million in social and economic aid.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations "marked up" (wrote its draft of) the 2004 foreign aid funding bill on July 10, 2003. The subcommittee - whose Republican leadership was reportedly under direct orders from House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office to leave untouched the Bush Administration's aid request for Colombia - made no changes to the request.

The Full House Appropriations Committee met on Wednesday, July 16, to "mark up" (write its draft of) the 2004 foreign aid funding bill. No significant changes to the Bush Administration's request took place.

The Senate Appropriations Committee met on July 17 to "mark up" (write its draft of) the 2004 foreign aid funding bill (S. 1426). Changes to the administrations request are described on the 2004 aid request page.

The House of Representatives met on July 23 to debate the 2004 foreign aid funding bill, known as the Foreign Operations Approptiations Act. An hourlong discussion on U.S. policy toward Colombia took place as representatives debated an amendment, introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), that sought to cut $75 million from military assistance to Colombia and move it into global HIV-AIDS programs.

The amendment failed by a largely party-line vote of 195 in favor, 226 against.

On October 10, 2003, the Senate approved its version of the Foreign Operations bill, making no major changes to the Colombia language the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved in its July 2003 “markup.” There was no debate on aid to Colombia or the Andean region.

The legislation was combined with six other appropriations bills, containing much federal discretionary spending. The Foreign Operations bill comprises “Division D” of this combined “omnibus” budget legislation (H.R. 2673).

In November 2003, a House-Senate Conference Committee reconciled differences between both houses’ versions of the omnibus bill. On December 8, 2003, the House of Representatives gave its final approval. The Senate has yet to vote on the measure, and will not do so until after January 20, 2004, when it returns from recess.

See the 2004 aid request page for more information.

Foreign Relations Authorization Act, 2004-5

On May 8, 2003, the House International Relations Committee "marked up" (agreed upon the draft of) H.R. 1950, a bill amending several laws governing U.S. foreign relations and aid programs. Three sections of this bill were highly relevant to U.S. aid to Colombia.

  • Section 703 would require a detailed report on the Colombian military's efforts to apprehend paramilitary leaders;
  • Section 1331 would expand the U.S.-supported aerial drug-interdiction program (the controversial "shootdown" program which led to the accidental downing of a planeload of U.S. missionaries over Peru in 2001). The program, once resumed, would be allowed to interdict planes suspected of smuggling illegal weapons.
  • Section 1332 would require that all pilots in the U.S.-supported opium eradication program in Colombia be fully trained Colombian citizens, preferably Colombian police agents.

Click here for a fuller overview of the committee's version of H.R. 1950.

On July 10, 2003, the Senate approved its version of the bill (S. 963). The Senate added a resolution praising the Colombian government on the third anniversary of the approval of the Plan Colombia aid bill. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) proposed the amendment.

Supplemental aid for 2003

On March 25, 2003, the Bush Administration requested an additional $74.7 billion from Congress to pay for its war with Iraq and other "war on terrorism" priorities. The bill includes about $105 million in new military and police assistance for Colombia.

On April 1, the Appropriations Committees of both houses of Congress "marked up" (agreed upon drafts of) their versions of the funding request (H.R. 1559 and S. 762). Neither altered the administration's request for Colombia.

On April 3, the full House and Senate considered the funding request. In the House, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), and Rosa DeLauro (D-New Haven) introduced an amendment seeking to cut $61 million of the Colombia aid. After 40 minutes of debate, the amendment failed by a vote of 216-209.


  • Read a memorandum from CIP explaining the contents of the request.
  • Read a similar memorandum from the Latin America Working Group.
  • Memorandum: CIP position on Colombia aid in Iraq supplemental, April 2, 2003
  • Read a March 28 memorandum to House Appropriators from Reps. Ike Skelton (D-Missouri), Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), and Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut)
  • Read the entire text of the funding request, from the White House Office of Management and Budget (PDF format).

On April 16, President Bush signed the bill into law.

2002: the debate over U.S. aid in 2003

On February 4, 2002, the Bush administration submitted to Congress its budget request for 2003, including a substantial increase in aid to the Andean region, especially Colombia.

The Senate Appropriations Committee made the first move on July 16 and July 18, when it "marked up" (basically, wrote and approved the text of) the foreign aid bill, S. 2779, first in subcommittee and then in full committee.

The House Appropriations Committee met on September 5 and September 19 to "mark up" its version of the bill, H.R. 5410.

The next step will be taken by either the full Senate or full House of Representatives, which will debate and approve the Foreign Operations bill.

Congressional consideration of the government's 2003 budget is far behind schedule, however (the federal government's "fiscal year"2003 begins on October 1, 2002). In order to finish the budget before November elections, the Congress is likely to combine the Foreign Operations bill together with several other pieces of the federal budget into a large single "omnibus" bill. Combining several bills limits time available for debate of specific issues - such as aid to Colombia.

See this site's page on the 2003 aid request for information about what is in the bill.


House version of the bill, H.R. 5410:

Senate version of the bill, S. 2779:

Bush Administration aid request:

Resolution: by voice vote on March 6, 2002, the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 358, a non-binding resolution calling for legislation to aid Colombia's fight against "foreign terrorist organizations and the scourge of illicit narcotics."

 

Supplemental aid for 2002

In response to a March 21 request from the Bush administration, both houses of the U.S. Congress have approved versions of an "emergency supplemental" appropriation - a bill that would approve the use of about $28 billion in new funding for 2002 to address counter-terror priorities. This bill includes several provisions relevant to Colombia.

A House-Senate "Conference Committee" finished reconciling differences in mid-July between both houses' versions of the bill. The committee's report (the final bill) is now available at the U.S. Congress website.

Read our discussion of the bill's contents.

Full Senate

The full Senate debated the supplemental appropriations bill on June 4-7. The Colombia provisions came up for debate briefly when Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida) introduced an amendment to restore the mission-expansion languge to the Defense Department section of the bill (see above for a fuller explanation). The amendment, which was withdrawn without a vote, sparked a brief debate. The bill passed with no major changes to its Colombia provisions.

Senate Appropriations Committee

The Senate Appropriations Committee "marked up" (wrote the text of) its version of the supplemental appropriations bill (S. 2551) on Thursday, May 23.

  • Text of Senate bill and committee report (link to U.S. Congress "Thomas" website)

House of Representatives

On May 22-23, the full House considered H.R. 4775, the 2002 supplemental appropriations bill. One amendment was considered: that sponsored by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Ike Skelton (D-Missouri). The provision would have eliminated language broadening the mission of U.S. military aid beyond counternarcotics to include counter-terrorism. The amendment lost by a vote of 192-225.

The House Appropriations Committee issued its report on the bill on May 20, 2002.

  • Text of House bill and committee report (link to U.S. Congress "Thomas" website)
  • Additional views of Rep. Jose Serrano (D-New York) in House Appropriations Committee Report 107-480


Bush administration request

Resolution: by voice vote on March 6, 2002, the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 358, a non-binding resolution calling for legislation to aid Colombia's fight against "foreign terrorist organizations and the scourge of illicit narcotics."

On March 21, 2002, the Bush administration submitted to Congress a request for "supplemental" funding for Colombia - additional aid to be spent in the current year, as soon as Congress approves it. The Colombia money is part of a much larger ($27.1 billion) request for additional funding for the "war on terrorism" and homeland security.

The House International Relations Committee did not meet on April 25, as originally expected, to mark up the part of the administration's request that would expand the mission of U.S. aid beyond counter-narcotics. Though no official reason was given for the cancellation, an apparent lack of support from committee members appears to have forced the withdrawal. [Proposed International Relations Committee bill language (Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format) (Español)]

2001: the debate over U.S. aid in 2002

On April 9, 2001, the Bush Administration submitted to Congress its request for assistance to Colombia in fiscal year 2002. The aid proposal is part of the regular foreign aid budget request for the whole world (known as "foreign operations"); a smaller portion will also be included in the counternarcotics section of the Defense Department budget request. (In 2000, the large two-year aid package was considered separately from the regular budget process, as a "supplemental appropriations" bill. This year, aid is being considered as part of the regular federal budget for 2002.

Relevant text of the 2002 aid package legislation (the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which includes most aid for Colombia and its neighbors):

  • With explanatory annotations from CIP
  • Bill text only

  • CIP analysis of the Bush Administration's original 2002 request for aid to Colombia and its neighbors.
  • Bush Administration's 2002 aid request for the Andes - State Department portion, document acquired May 8, 2001.
  • Bush Administration's 2002 aid request for Colombia - Defense Department portion, document acquired September 19, 2001.
  • Excerpt from International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs Congressional Budget Justification, May 2001

The House-Senate Conference Committee met in November and December to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the foreign aid bill. Both houses approved the final version on December 19 and 20. The final bill includes about $625 million for the "Andean Regional Initiative" aid program ($106 million less than the Bush Administration's request), and conditions on human rights and fumigation were altered but remain in the law.

  • Relevant excerpts from the legislation (with or without explanatory annotations from CIP)

The full Senate met on October 24 to debate the 2002 foreign aid bill. The debate focused on two amendments to the bill; one failed and one passed.

  • Relevant excerpts from the legislation

  • Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida) introduced an amendment that would have restored the Bush Administration's $731 million request for the Andean Regional Initiative, which the Senate Appropriations Committee had cut to $567 million. The $164 million would have come from across-the-board cuts in the rest of the foreign aid bill. Sen. Graham's amendment was challenged on a point of order, which Graham sought to waive, requiring a vote. The vote on the waiver failed by a 27-72 vote, killing the amendment.
  • Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wisconsin) introduced an amendment to add a new condition prohibiting funding for aerial fumigation until alternative development projects are operating in affected areas. The amendment passed, together with several other amendments, by voice vote.

The Senate Appropriations Committee met on July 26 to mark up (amend and approve) the 2002 foreign aid bill. Its version of the bill does the following:

    • Cuts the counternarcotics portion of the "Andean Regional Initiative" request from $676 million to $567 million;
    • Inserts strong human rights conditions, probably similar to last year's conditions, wthout waiver authority;
    • Freezes funding for aerial drug fumigations until the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Surgeon General, determines that they do not pose an “undue risk to human health or safety”; and
    • Re-establishes the cap of 500 military personnel and 300 civilian contractors allowed in Colombia at one time.
  • Relevant excerpts from the legislation
  • Relevant excerpts from the Senate Appropriations Committee Report [.html | Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)]
  • Senate Appropriations Committee's press release [English | Spanish]

The House of Representatives met on July 24 to debate and approve H.R. 2506, the 2002 foreign aid bill. Amendments to cut military assistance failed by party-line votes, with Democrats mostly in favor and Republicans mostly opposed. An amendment to reinstate a cap on contractors passed in modified form -- instead of a maximum of 500 uniformed U.S. military personnel and 300 private contractors allowed in Colombia at one time, a combined total of 800 U.S. personnel was added to the bill. More details about the debate and the votes will be added soon.

The House Appropriations Committee met July 10 to mark up (amend and approve) the 2002 foreign aid bill. No amendments were approved. The Republican leadership inserted in the bill's text a provision removing the legal maximum of 300 private contractors allowed in Colombia at one time.

Relevant excerpts from House Appropriations Committee Report 107-142 on H.R. 2506, the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, July 17, 2001

The Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee marked up the 2002 foreign aid bill on June 27. The only change: the committee cut $55 million from the administration's $882 million request.

  • CIP analysis of the Bush Administration's request for aid to Colombia and its neighbors in 2002.
  • Bush Administration's 2002 aid request for the Andes - State Department portion, document acquired May 8, 2001.
  • Bush Administration's 2002 aid request for Colombia - Defense Department portion, document acquired September 19, 2001.
  • [English | Español] State Department fact sheet on U.S. Policy Toward the Andean Region, May 17, 2001
  • On-the-Record Briefing with several administration officials on Andean Regional Initiative, May 16, 2001
  • Relevant excerpts from Fiscal Year 2002 International Affairs (Function 150) Budget Request, U.S. State Department, April 9, 2001
January - June 2000: the debate over the 2000-2001 aid package
The aid legislation
(in reverse chronological order)
Past legislative steps
(in reverse chronological order)
  • The final version of the aid law: Conference Report 106-701, from the House-Senate conference committee, June 29, 2000 (The committee's narrative report, with specific funding amounts, is available only in Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format)
    Changes made include:
    • A different mix of helicopters: 18 UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopters and 42 UH-1H "Huey" helicopters. Twelve of the Hueys are for the Colombian National Police.
    • A combination of the House and Senate human rights conditions, but with a waiver allowing the Secretary of State to skip the human rights certification if doing so is in the "national security interest."
    • Cuts in funding for alternative development and aid for displaced persons.
    • Removal of the Senate's environmental conditions on herbicides.
    • Removal of a House provision increasing funding for internally displaced persons.

  • The Senate's version: S. 2522, Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2001 , June 22, 2000; and S. 2521, Military Construction Appropriations Act, 2001.

    The Senate's final version is nearly identical to the package drafted earlier by the
    Senate Appropriations Committee, which met on May 9 to consider its version of the proposed Colombia aid package. The package took the form of amendments to two appropriations bills: about 90 percent of the new funding was attached to the Foreign Operations appropriation, and the remainder was added to the Military Construction appropriation.

    The Senate committee's draft funding bill differed in several important ways from the Clinton Administration's original aid request and the legislation the House of Representatives passed in March. Key differences included:

    • The thirty UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopters foreseen in earlier versions were removed, and replaced with much cheaper upgrades to UH-1H "Super Huey" helicopters.
    • Several other military aid categories are reduced by removing funding for their second year.
    • Funding for human rights protections and institutions more than triples.
    • Strong human rights conditions are added to the military and police assistance.
    • Numerous reporting requirements are added.
    Excerpts from Senate Appropriations committee report 106-291, May 11, 2000 [Link to Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) version]

    Excerpts from Senate Appropriations committee report 106-290
    , May 11, 2000 [Link to Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) version]


    Read a summary of the Senate floor debate, with links to speeches, and a table of key votes affecting the Colombia package.

  • The House of Representatives' version: H.R. 3908, 2000 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, March 30, 2000
    The full House of Representatives made three small changes to the version approved earlier by the House Appropriations Committee:
    • Human rights and other conditions on the military aid, which can be waived if "extraordinary circumstances" apply;
    • A requirement that at least $50 million of the aid package be used to assist displaced persons in Colombia (the administration's proposal foresaw $39.5 million in such assistance, including aid to people to be displaced by U.S.-funded military operations).
    • A requirement that funds in the bill cannot be used to keep more than 300 U.S. military personnel in Colombia at any given time.

    Read a summary of the House floor debate, with links to speeches, and a table of key votes affecting the Colombia package.

  • The House Appropriations Committee's version: H.R. 3908, 2000 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act , March 9, 2000
    The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the aid proposal on March 9, 2000, making few changes to the administration's original package. It was reported in the full House of Represenatives as H.R. 3908 on March 14.

    House Appropriations Committee report 106-521

    Summary table [Web (.html) format, 66KB | Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format, 13KB| Microsoft Excel (.xls) format, 63KB]

  • The Clinton Administration's original aid proposal, January 11, 2000
    Summary table [Web (.html) format, 114KB| Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format, 21KB | Microsoft Excel (.xls) format, 42KB]

  • The House-Senate Conference Committee, June 30, 2000
    A "conference committee" made up of members of both houses reconciled the differences between the House and Senate bills.

  • The Full Senate, June 22, 2000
    The U.S. Senate approved its version of the Colombia aid package along with the 2001 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill (S. 2522).
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee, May 9, 2000
    The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a version of the Colombia aid package that contained less military aid and more human rights funding and conditions. An amendment that sought to cut about 90 percent of the aid failed by a narrow margin.

  • The full House of Representatives, March 30, 2000
    The bill that includes the Colombia aid package -- H.R. 3908, the 2000 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed the House by a vote of 263 in favor to 146 opposed. Its Colombia provisions were approved with only minor changes, though amendments seeking to delay or cut military aid garnered many more votes than expected.
  • The House Appropriations Committee, March 9, 2000
    The House Appropriations Committee "marked up" -- amended and voted on -- its version of the emergency supplemental appropriations bill. In the end, the bill's Colombia provisions differed little from the administration's original proposal. Democratic committee members offered amendments to delay the military part of the package, to add funding for domestic drug demand-reduction, alternative development and assistance to displaced persons, and to add human rights conditions to the military assistance. None of these amendments won approval.
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