Ford Meets Congressmen on Transitional Quarter Funding: Amount for Israel in Dispute

President Ford was scheduled to meet with a Congressional delegation at the White House late today in a further effort to reach a compromise over transitional quarter funding for Israel and other Middle East countries. The issue is apparently the last remaining barrier to passage of a foreign aid package acceptable to the President. A spokesman for Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D.Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Foreign Operations, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the subcommittee had been meeting since 7 a.m. today on a foreign operations bill for fiscal 1977, including funding for the transition quarter.

A White House spokesman, who confirmed the meeting, could not name the Congressmen who will attend. State Department spokesman Frederick Brown said a Department representative would attend the meeting but could not say who it would be.

Sen. Inouye and Rep. Otto Passman (D.La.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Foreign Operations, reportedly have been in touch with the President on a compromise funding. Ford reportedly had agreed with Congressional leaders in April that Israel should receive $376 million in military and economic support assistance for the three-month period between the end of fiscal 1976 on June 30 and the start of fiscal 1977 Oct. 1. Subsequently, the President was said to want that sum distributed between Israel, Egypt, Syria and Jordan with Israel receiving about $200 million. Israel had originally expected $550 million, according to a Senate formula which called for transitional quarter funding in the amount of 25 percent of each nation’s total foreign aid for fiscal 1975-76.

ISRAEL’S SUPPORTERS SEEK $376 MILLION

Passman was quoted as saying yesterday that $376 million for Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria was the limit the White House would go and that “if we exceeded this by one dollar the bill will be vetoed.” But Sen. Clifford Case of New Jersey, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reportedly is still seeking the $376 million for Israel. Case and another supporter of increased aid for Israel, Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) were said to be prepared to tell the President that if the U.S. gave Israel $376 million in credits, this would represent only $37.5 million in actual budget authority–the guarantee to be paid if Israel defaulted on its loans. By contrast, they are expected to argue, the $200 million compromise figure would represent $120 million in budget authority–$100 million in grant aid and $20 million in loan guarantees.

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