WASHINGTON (Dec. 20)
King Hussein of Jordan began his talks with Administration officials today as a majority of the Senate and nearly half of the House of Representatives were on record urging him to join the Middle East peace process.
At the same time, however, a House-Senate conference committee scaled down military and economic aid to Israel for fiscal 1983 to the levels originally requested by the Administration.
Sens. Walter Huddleston (D. Ky.) and William Cohen (R. Me.) added their names today to a motion calling on Jordan to enter into peace negotiations with Israel. Their signatures made a majority of 51 in favor of the measure introduced last May by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D. Mass.) and John Heinz (R. Pa.)
The legislators indicated that the motion will be re-introduced in the next Senate should the current efforts to bring Hussein into Middle East peace talks prove fruitless.
Last Friday, 182 members of the House signed a letter to President Reagan urging him to reject any new arms sales to Jordan until Hussein becomes more cooperative with respect to joining the peace process. The letter, originally sponsored by five Democrats and five Republicans, drew 172 co-sponsors from both parties during the week preceding Hussein’s visit to Washington.
The Jordanian King was to meet with Secretary of State George Shultz this afternoon. He will meet with President Reagan at the White House tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. to be followed by a working lunch.
AID FOR ISRAEL SCALED DOWN
The House-Senate compromise on funding $2.185 billion in military and economic aid for Israel came about last night as part of an overall emergency government spending bill worked out as the lame duck session of Congress neared adjournment.
The conference committee, in effect, agreed to the Administration’s request for$785 million in economic aid and $1.4 billion in military assistance for Israel of which $700 million will be in the form of a grant. This was less than the $2.610 million total approved earlier by the Senate and considerably lower than the $2.485 billion recommended by the Senate Appropriations Committee on December 2 to which the Administration had objected vigorously.
The Administration contended that the additional $475 million grant in aid to Israel “could imperil” U.S. efforts to secure the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon and to make progress in the broader peace process.