The House Appropriations Committee on July 9 approved the fiscal year 2021 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill on a vote of 29 to 21. The legislation funds the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, and other international programs and activities.
The legislation provides security assistance to key allies and partners. The bill fully funds the $3.3 billion commitment to Israel’s security, and it maintains strong support for Foreign Military Financing programs in Ukraine, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia.
The legislation, funding international programs and activities of the U.S., recommends not less than USD 132,025,000 assistance for Georgia, with 15 % of the funds available to the Georgian Government conditioned to the state of democracy in Georgia. Referring to withholding 15% of assistance funds made available to the central Georgian Government, the bill says that the Secretary of State shall consider whether the Government of Georgia is taking effective steps, according to local news website civil.ge.
Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia’’ and made available for assistance for the central Government of Georgia, 15 percent may not be obligated until the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is taking effective steps to:
(A) Strengthen democratic institutions as described under this section in the report accompanying this Act;
(B) Combat corruption within the government, including in the application of anti-corruption laws and regulations;
(C) Ensure the rule of law in the private sector is consistent with internationally recognized standards, including protecting the rights of foreign businesses to operate free from harassment and to fully realize all due commercial 6 and financial benefits resulting from investments made in Georgia.
The withholding shall not apply to programs that support democracy, the rule of law, civil society and the media, or programs to reduce gender-based violence and to protect vulnerable populations, is written in a bill.
“The fiscal year 2021 State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill rejects the President’s ‘go-it-alone’ approach to foreign policy and expresses the Committee’s concerns about timely obligation and prudent expenditures. It provides greater distinction between short-term diplomatic, political initiatives and long-term investments in development for which unexpected events should not trigger the conditioning of aid,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey.