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Foreign Aid Bill Moving on Congress’ Fast Track

If Congress stays on course, Israel will receive $3 billion in U.S. foreign aid on time this year.

The Senate approved a $12.2 billion foreign aid bill last Friday in a vote of 93-7. The House of Representatives passed a similar measure last month that spends $11.9 billion in U.S. aid.

Unlike last year when the aid package, including Israel’s $1.8 billion in military assistance and $1.2 billion in economic aid, was held up until four months after the fiscal year ended, this year’s spending bill is on the fast track to approval.

The measure also would provide $2.1 billion for Egypt and allow for $75 million in cash assistance for the Palestinian Authority. Like the House, senators included a number of pro-Israel provisions in the legislation, including early disbursal of the aid in October.

The bill also authorizes the creation of a Middle East Development Bank. However, no money is provided for the venture.

Members of the House and Senate were scheduled to meet this week to hammer out differences in each chamber’s bill. Members must then approve the agreement for the bill to be sent to President Clinton for his approval.

Officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee expressed hope that the final bill would be sent to President Clinton by the end of this week, when Congress is scheduled to leave for its August recess.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Following is an update of the story appearing in the July 29 JTA Daily Dispatch about the three Israelis killed in a drive-by shooting last Friday. It may be used by those papers that want a shorter piece than the earlier story. Otherwise, papers can incorporate some of the new information from this story into the earlier story.

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