Spending panel clears $5.8 billion cut to foreign aid

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Rogers pointed out that the bill funds “every penny” of the $4.8 billion the Obama administration had requested for embassy security following last year's terror attack in Benghazi, Libya. Democrats countered that it would still hurt national security by scaling back diplomatic efforts.

“The agencies and programs funded by this bill are a vital part of our national security strategy. Yet, our ability to protect our national interests and further our diplomatic and development goals would be limited if this bill were to become law,” said committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). “The majority's refusal to go to conference and develop a bipartisan agreement on the budget continues to place this committee in the position of underfunding essential programs.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-Fla.) offered an amendment to pass to restore cuts to development agencies.

She said a “no” vote would lead to “more starving children.”

It failed on a voice vote.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) offered an amendment she has offered to every appropriations bill this year to replace the sequester cuts imposed for nine years, starting last March 1. It was defeated 21-28.

“We all need to take this seriously and stop this,” she argued.

During debate, Reps. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) said they were outraged by the removal of restrictions on aid to central and South American countries over human rights violations. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the foreign aid subpanel, said she would work on possibly restoring the restrictions.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) offered an amendment to restore funding for the United Nations Population Fund. The bill restricts funding for abortion-related reasons.

DeLauro cited her stepdaughter's near death in childbirth as a reason to restore the funding for the developing world. The amendment failed 24-26.

Lee also offered an amendment calling for $37 million in funding for the U.N. Population Fund to operate in countries where the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) doesn't do family planning. It also went down on a party-line 23-26 vote.

Aid to Egypt also came up when Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the Obama administration's decision to refrain from calling the removal of President Mohammed Morsi a military coup set a bad precedent. Calling Morsi's removal a coup would trigger an automatic cut in U.S. aid, but Schiff said the law should be amended to keep aid flowing rather than ignored.

“We undermine our own rule of law” by ignoring congressional intent, he said, with “policy implications beyond Egypt.”

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This story was updated at 2:57 p.m.