WASHINGTON (May. 11)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, acting without dissent, adopted a compromise foreign aid authorization bill today which goes a long way toward meeting the objections voiced by President Ford when he vetoed an earlier authorization measure last week.
The new bill covering aid programs for fiscal 1976 and fiscal 1977, includes, as did the earlier one, the Senate’s formula providing funding for the transitional quarter between the two fiscal years in the amount of up to 25 percent of what each recipient country would receive for fiscal 1976.
If this measure is adopted and signed into law, Israel stands to receive about $550 million to cover its military needs for the three months between the end of fiscal 1976 on June 30 and the start of fiscal 1977 on Oct. 1. This would be in addition to the approximately $4,1 billion earmarked for Israel for both fiscal years. Some 50 other countries, including Egypt, Syria and Jordan, would benefit proportionately. Egypt is slated to receive $1,8 billion for the two fiscal years plus $175 million in transitional quarter funding.
SOME PROVISIONS DROPPED, SOME RETURNED
In deference to Ford’s opposition, the Foreign Relations Committee dropped from the new measure a provision contained in the earlier one that set a $9 billion ceiling on the amount of arms the U.S. can sell abroad in any given year.
However, it retained the provision that permits Congress to ban arms deals by the government or private American companies with foreign countries in excess of $25 million. That provision is subject to a concurrent resolution of Congress which means that if both houses forbid such deals, they are automatically barred without Presidential authority.
Four other provisions of the vetoed measure are also contained in the new bill. These include a ban on foreign aid to any country that harbors international terrorists, discriminates against Americans on grounds of race, color, creed or sex or violates human rights that are recognized under international covenants. The new measure retains the provision empowering Congress to prohibit the delivery of American weapons to any country that transfers them to a third nation without specific permission from the U.S.
To meet Ford’s complaint that these measures inhibited his Presidential right to conduct the nation’s foreign policy, the Foreign Relations Committee agreed that the provisions of the new measure would be subject to joint resolutions instead of concurrent resolutions. The difference is that the President can veto a joint resolution out must accept a concurrent resolution. Join resolutions have expediting procedures attached resolutions have expediting procedures attached to them to prevent possible fill buster.