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World: U.S. Congress Considers Budget, Foreign Aid

Washington, 3 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. House of Representatives reconvenes today with legislators facing an October 1 deadline for completing work on legislation to fund the operations of the U.S. Government for the next financial year.

The 100-member U.S. Senate ended its summer recess and went back into session yesterday. The 435-member House is scheduled to resume today.

The Congress must pass within the next month 13 separate pieces of legislation, called appropriations bills, that provide the money for the federal budget. Among the bills pending is legislation that provides U.S. economic assistance to the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

The Senate has approved a $16.8 billion foreign aid bill. The House is discussing a $12.3 billion foreign aid measure. The difference between the two versions must be worked out before a final bill can be approved. In addition, a provision in the House bill that would prohibit U.S. aid that might be used for abortions in foreign countries has delayed progress on the foreign aid legislation.

President Bill Clinton has promised that he will veto the foreign aid measure if it contains the anti-abortion amendment.