The Senate last night junked a series of controversial House-passed restrictions on foreign aid which President Carter strongly opposed.
By a 47 to 29 vote followed by two voice votes, it stripped from the $6.9 billion foreign-aid money bill a ban on loans by international development banks to seven specified countries.
The House had said none of the funds could go to the seven countries either as direct aid or as loans from the World Bank, Asian Development Fund, International Development Association or Inter-American Development Bank. The seven are Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, Angola, Mozambique and Uganda.
The administration didn't care about the ban on direct U.S. aid to those countries. But it strongly opposed the language involving the international leading agencies saying they couldn't legally accept U.S. contributions contained in the bill if conditions and restrictions were imposed on how they could use the funds. Without the money, the agencies would be in severe difficulties financially.
Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), leading the fight to impose the ban, said Carter had threatened to veto the aid bill if the ban were included.
"Well, too bad," said Dole. "He's been talking about vetoing something all year. Might as well be this bill . . . I don't know of any taxpayer who's in a rush to send money to Vietnam."
Floor manager Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) said the issue was really the conditions on the international banks. But he acknowledged that some of the loans from the international agencies might well be for humanitarian purposes.
In another vote yesterday, the Senate also lifted a House ban on loans by the four international banks for projects to promote citrus, palm oil and sugar production that might compete with U.S. projects. This also was a victory for the administration.
A House ban on military aid to certain countries, on grounds that they have poor records on human rights, was also dropped. Most of them have already said they don't want aid.
The Senate also endorsed an appropriations Committee recommendation that the government compel reductions in the salaries of U.S. executive directors (and their alternates) on the international lending agencies. Some of them are paid as much as $83,000 and $78,000, a U.S. Cabinet officer gets $66,000.
In one cut reducing the bill from an earlier $7.1 billion total, the Senate on an amendment by Harry Flood Byrd (Ind-Va.) chopped $150 million from the $950 million slated for the International Development Association.
An attempt by James B. Allen (D-Ala.) to cut 5 per cent from the bill down the line failed, 45 to 28.