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Senators Urge Bush to Separate Loan Issue from the Peace Process

A dozen members of the Senate Appropriations Committee have urged President Bush to work with the panel to provide Israel with U.S. guarantees for $10 billion in loans for immigrant resettlement.

“Approval of the refugee guarantees is a humanitarian issue, which is separate and apart from the peace process,” the senators said in a letter to Bush drafted by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

“The fate of these refugees should not be held hostage to political differences, over which the refugees have no control, between Israel and the Arab countries,” the letter said.

Lautenberg pointed out that ethnic tension is on the rise in the various republics of the Soviet Union while at the same time there is a danger of famine there this winter. “Historically, the combination of these factors spell uncertainty for Jews in the former Soviet Union,” he warned.

Among those signing the letter were Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Robert Kasten (R-Wis.), who have drafted the legislation to provide Israel with the loan guarantees, and one announced candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.

Others signing it were Sens. Dennis DeCon-cini (D-Ariz.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Quentin Burdick (D-N.D.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Brock Adams (D-Wash.), Wyche Fowler (D-Ga.), Alfonse D’Amato (R-N.Y.) and Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.).

The signers include a majority of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations but not its chairman, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who has indicated he will go along with Bush’s request for a 120-day delay on consideration of the loan guarantee legislation.

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