Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes 2-Year, $2B Measure To Aid Haiti Rebuilding
The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee passed a $2 billion aid package to assist with Haiti's rebuilding from the January 12 earthquake, Agence France-Presse reports (5/25).
Approved by voice vote, the measure "would authorize $2 billion over two years to support long-term rebuilding and reconstruction in Haiti, in coordination with Haiti's own government and the international community," Congressional Quarterly reports. The committee adopted an amendment by voice vote that reduces the time frame of the aid from five years to two years and also reduced the amount of funding from $3.5 billion, according to CQ.
Andy Fisher, press secretary for Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said the committee changed the funding and time period in an effort to ensure it could monitor the progress of the aid and Haiti's changing needs. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the committee chairman, said "by scaling back the proposal, the panel acknowledges that things in Haiti 'could change in the next five years,'" CQ writes (Anderson, 5/25). Bill co-sponsor Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in a statement, "This bill provides an approach based on benchmarks and accountability. It's about investing in the long-term needs of the Haitian people through effective governance, sustainable infrastructure reconstruction, and the reliable delivery of social services" (5/25).
The proposal, which must go to the full Senate and the House of Representatives for approval, would require Congress to "receive a first report on a strategy for disbursement of the aid 90 days after the bill was signed into law, and annually thereafter," AFP writes. It also directs USAID to create a "'comprehensive rebuilding and development strategy for Haiti' and calls for the appointment of a senior coordinator to oversee U.S. policy towards the country," according to the news service (5/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.