WASHINGTON (Oct. 3)
The Senate-House conference on the continuing resolution for foreign assistance is expected to adopt the Mondale Amendment increasing last year’s $50 million in economic aid to Israel to $250 million. Its action is expected to prevail.
The conferees were reported today as not yet having reached the Mondale Amendment in their considerations. The continuing resolution would maintain the spending levels in the aid program that existed in fiscal year 1974 except for Israel, which would be increased, and cut out military aid to Turkey and Chile. The amendment proposed by Sen. Walter Mondale (D.Minn.) would also make it possible to convert into a grant $100 million of the $300 million in military credit allowed Israel in the 1974 program.
Some uncertainty over the amendment’s final success hovers around the fact that President Ford has warned he will veto the continuing aid resolution if assistance to Turkey and Chile are eliminated under other amendments to the resolution. This conflict between the Senate and the Administration over aid to Turkey and Chile brought about the postponement and possibly the death of the Foreign Aid Authorization Bill for fiscal 1975 which ends next June 30. The continuing resolution would extend the life of the 1974 program from last July 1 until a new law is legislated.
The Administration, Capitol Hill sources noted, may insist that increased aid to Israel, popular in Congress, should be granted only if Turkey and Chile receive continuing support. Responding to the request of Mondale that the Israel economy not “be held hostage” to the foreign aid authorization, the Senate adopted his amendment by a vote of 65-25.
NO ACTION EXPECTED BEFORE NOV. 5
The Mondale amendment carries the same provisions adopted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in its foreign aid measure which the Senate yesterday recommitted to that committee by a 41-39 vote in the wake of a Presidential veto threat. The House Foreign Affairs Committee which is still considering its foreign aid authorization bill also has approved the additional assistance to Israel but the House has yet to vote on that bill.
With the House recessing Oct. 11 and the Senate about Oct. 15 for the Nov. 5 election, no action is expected on the new authorization measure before then. It is unlikely too that Congress will have time before its adjournment in Jan. to work out both authorization and appropriation bills before foreign aid becomes law, and the entire process may be left for the new Congress convening next year.
It was in view of that probability that no new aid bill may be forthcoming or long delayed that Mondale urged passage of his amendment because “this money is urgently needed by the Israeli government.” The Yom Kippur War “cost Israel a year’s gross national product,” he said. “Translated into American terms it would be the equivalent of a loss of a trillion dollars. It is easy to imagine the state that our economy would be in after suffering such costs. In many ways the Israel economy, being smaller and less flexible, has suffered even greater damage.”