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:5/15/00
U.S. Government Information:
The Senate Appropriations Committee

The Senate Appropriations Commitee 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 following:

  1. The thirty UH-60 "Blackhawk" helicopters foreseen in earlier versions were removed, and replaced with much cheaper upgrades to UH-1H "Super Huey" helicopters. The package originally was to provide 30 Blackhawks and 15 Hueys, with funding to maintain 18 Hueys delivered in late 1999. The Senate version would provide zero Blackhawks and 75 Hueys, with funding for the 18 previously delivered Hueys. Overall funding for helicopters falls in the Senate version from $452 million to $182.5 million.
  2. Several other military aid categories are reduced by removing funding for their second year. Overall, the Senate version would give Colombia about $350 million less military and police aid than was foreseen in the administration's original proposal.
  3. Funding for human rights protections and institutions more than triples, from $15 million in the original package to $53.5 million.
  4. Strong human rights conditions are added to the military and police assistance.
  5. Numerous reporting requirements are added for several aspects of U.S. policy toward Colombia, including the Colombian security forces' human rights record, the presence of U.S. military personnel, and U.S. efforts to promote peace, among others.
  6. The draft committee report accompanying the bill expresses much skepticism about the aid package, citing a lack of clarity in the administration's plans and "grave reservations regarding the Administration's ability to achieve the expected results of reducing production and supply of cocaine while protecting human rights."

During the markup, the Appropriations Committee members agreed to add an amendment proposed by Senators Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). The amendment requires that any future appropriations for counter-drug activities in Colombia be authorized as well as appropriated. It also establishes a "troop cap," limiting the U.S. presence in Colombia to 250 military personnel and 100 contract employees.

  • Statement by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia), May 9, 2000

Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Washington) introduced an amendment that would have reduced to $100 million the Foreign Operations outlay for Colombia, essentially gutting the administration's proposal. Sen. Gorton's amendment failed by a narrow margin, with 11 voting in favor and 15 against.

CIP Senior Associate Adam Isacson, present at the markup, recorded the following eleven votes in favor. Several "no" votes and abstentions were inaudible. This should not be regarded as an official count:

  • Republicans: Domenici (R-New Mexico), Gorton (R-Washington), Burns (R-Montana), Craig (R-Idaho), Gregg (R-New Hampshire);
  • Democrats: Leahy (D-Vermont), Harkin (D-Iowa), Mikulski (D-Maryland), Kohl (D-Wisconsin), Murray (D-Washington), Durbin (D-Illinois).

The bills to which the aid package is attached (military construction and foreign operations) go next to the full Senate. Given the skeptical tone of the committee report and committee members' comments during the May 9 markup, more debate and amendment may be in store for the aid package when it reaches the full Senate.

 


Senators

Republicans
Democrats

Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), committee chairman.
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 10
ACU Conservative Rating: 84
Office: 224-3004

At a February 24 hearing Stevens asked U.S. Southern Command Chief Gen. Charles Wilhelm, "Who's going to go in if this blows up? Tell me this is not a Vietnam again." Stevens has since softened his position, supporting the Senate's somewhat scaled-back version of the aid package.

Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 84

Office: 224-5054

Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania).
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 40
ACU Conservative Rating: 48
United Technologies donations:* $1,000
Textron donations:** $1,000
Office: 224-4254

Specter voiced skepticism during the February 24th hearing and the May 9 markup. "I'm prepared to listen, but candidly, it's a high hurdle [that the aid package faces]," Specter told administration witnesses in February.

Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 5
ACU Conservative Rating: 88
Office: 224-6621
Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-Missouri)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 84
United Technologies donations:* $10,000
Textron donations:** $3,000

Office: 224-5721

Slade Gorton (R-Washington)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 5
ACU Conservative Rating: 84

Office: 224-3441

At the May 9 markup, Sen. Gorton introduced an amendment that would have reduced to $100 million the Foreign Operations outlay for Colombia, essentially gutting the administration's proposal. Sen. Gorton's amendment failed by a narrow margin, with 11 voting in favor and 15 against.

Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), chairman, Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 84
Office: 224-2541

At a February 24th hearing, McConnell criticized the aid package as "halfhearted" and unlikely to impact the flow of drugs from Colombia.

  • Statement of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), hearing of Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee, February 24, 2000
Conrad Burns (R-Montana)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 96
Office: 224-2644
Richard Shelby (R-Alabama)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 10
ACU Conservative Rating: 84
United Technologies donations:* $9,000
Office: 224-5744

Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 91
Textron donations:** $4,000
Office: 224-3324

Sen. Gregg criticized the aid package on the Senate floor on April 13.

  • Speech by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), April 13, 2000
Bob Bennett (R-Utah)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 84
Office: 224-5444
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 15
ACU Conservative Rating: 88
Office: 224-5852
Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 96
United Technologies donations:* $1,000
Office: 224-2752
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 88
United Technologies donations:* $1,000
Textron donations:** $5,000

Office: 224-5922
Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 0
ACU Conservative Rating: 100
United Technologies donations:* $1,000
Office: 224-4521

Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia), ranking member.
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 80
ACU Conservative Rating: 20
United Technologies donations:* $8,000

Office: 224-3954

During the May 9 committee markup, Sen. Byrd co-sponsored an amendment that placed a "cap" on the U.S. military presence in Colombia, and required that any future assistance for Colombia's military be both authorized as well as appropriated by Congress.

Speaking on the floor of the Senate on February 29, Sen. Byrd said, "The White House calls this funding an emergency. I think we have more than enough emergencies here on our home soil that demand urgent attention. It is time to get our priorities straight."

  • Statement by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia), May 9, 2000
  • Speech by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia), February 29, 2000 (brief mention of Colombia package)

Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 95
ACU Conservative Rating: 0
United Technologies donations:* $3,000
Textron donations:** $3,000

Office: 224-3934

Sen. Inouye co-sponsored Sen. Byrd's amendment at the May 9 committee markup (see above).

At the February 24 hearing, Inouye expressed concern about the Colombian Army's viability as an aid recipient, noting in particular the Colombian military's policy of excluding high school graduates from combat.

Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-South Carolina)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 85
ACU Conservative Rating: 12
Office: 224-6121

Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), ranking member, Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 95
ACU Conservative Rating: 4
Office: 224-4242

Sen. Leahy added strong human rights conditions and increased human rights funding to the Senate Appropriations Committee's version of the Colombia aid package.

At a February 24 hearing, Leahy warned, "I have serious doubts about the Administration's approach. ... It is just as likely that it will lead to a wider war, more innocent people killed, more refugees uprooted from their homes, and no appreciable change in the flow of cocaine into the United States." Leahy may seek to add strong human rights conditions to the new military aid for Colombia.

  • Statement of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), hearing of Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee, February 24, 2000

Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey).
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 100
ACU Conservative Rating: 0
Office: 224-4744

Sen. Lautenberg said on February 24 that he is inclined to favor military assistance to Colombia, though he expressed concern about paramilitary linkages and called for stronger human rights restrictions.

Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 100
ACU Conservative Rating: 4
Office: 224-3254

Sen. Harkin added assistance for demobilizing child soldiers to the Senate's version of the aid package.

Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 100
ACU Conservative Rating: 4
United Technologies donations:* $3,000
Textron donations:** $1,000

Office: 224-4654
Harry Reid (D-Nevada)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 90
ACU Conservative Rating: 12
Office: 224-3542
Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 100
ACU Conservative Rating: 4
Office: 224-5653
Patty Murray (D-Washington)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 100
ACU Conservative Rating: 4
Office: 224-2621
Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 95
ACU Conservative Rating: 12
United Technologies donations:* $3,000
Office: 224-2551

Dianne Feinstein (D-California)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 100
ACU Conservative Rating: 4
Office: 224-3841

Sen. Feinstein spoke at length in favor of the aid package on the Senate floor on April 13, arguing that "it is in our national interest to appropriate the dollars for this request."

  • Speeches by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), April 13, 2000
Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)
ADA "Liberal Quotient": 100
ACU Conservative Rating: 4
Office: 224-2152

*1997-2000 campaign donations from the PAC of United Technologies, the parent corporation of Sikorsky, the manufacturer of the Blackhawk helicopter. (Source: Center for Responsive Politics)
**1997-2000 campaign donations from the PAC of Textron, the parent corporation of Bell, the manufacturer of the "Super Huey" helicopter upgrade. (Source: Center for Responsive Politics)

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