Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Senate Supplemental- Fact Sheet and Why EPIC Did Not Oppose It All Together

Threw together this resource for work and thought it might interest a few of you out there.

After going through the entire Senate version of the supplemental S.965 and the committee report here are all funds I could find being appropriated for relief and development in Iraq:

  • $100 million for CAP, of which $5 million is for the Marla Fund
  • $65 million for Iraq refugees including $5 million specifically for Iraqi scholars
  • $65 million for Iraqi IDP’s as part of International Disaster and Famine Assistance
  • $55 million to replenish US Emergency Refugees and Migration Assistance Fund (could be used for Iraq)
  • Sec. 1711 seems to relax the restrictions for Iraqis seeking refuge in the U.S.
  • $5 million for Iraqi civilians who have suffered losses as a result of the military operations
  • $384 million for the Community Stabilization Program [CSP]
  • $100 million to restart state factories
  • $385 million for democracy, governance, human rights, and rule of law programs in Iraq including: $40 million for Human Rights; $10 million for Women’s Programs; $20 million for Support for Medial and $200 million to continue Democracy Programs, Civil Society and Political Party Development
  • $70 million for Private Sector Agribusiness development
  • $20 million for Financial Markets Development and Strengthening
  • $456.4 million for CERPs
  • $1 billion for PRT’s according to Senate Appropriations Summary of the bill
Also, a few people have written in asking why EPIC supports the supplemental, as much of the funding is appropriated for the military surge. Some have suggested that only once troops have withdrawn from Iraq, should we appropriate funds for reconstruction and aid. The point is that the people of Iraq cannot wait through the months of political debate on the Hill that would be needed to reverse current Administration policy. We have a humanitarian emergency on our hands. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are fleeing their homes every month while those who can’t leave are suffering from an inadequate public health system, 60% unemployment rate and a security situation that fails to guarantee them even a tomorrow.

Congress will pass a supplemental spending bill in some form or another to support the troops that are already there. This much is clear. The number of votes needed to oppose the bill simply aren't there. Whether they add restrictions, timelines, etc is not our primary concern, though we are certainly against further fighting in Iraq. This Administration has been wrong to seek a military solution to the problems of Iraq. We have repeatedly stated this, and gone even further by suggesting effective solutions to the crisis, namely relief and development. Our main concern is the people of Iraq who are suffering greatly due to this Administration's short-sighted policies and failed initiatives. All we are asking is that Congress appropriates a small percentage of the supplemental funds to help the people of Iraq. I’m looking through the House version now and it includes $25 million for spinach producers (p. 291) and $60 million for salmon fisheries (p. 216) among other expenditures extraneous to Iraq. Surely we can include something for millions of Iraqis.

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