The Senate approved a $14.9 billion foreign aid authorization bill last night on a 75-to-19 vote, providing new aid to anticommunist rebels in Cambodia and putting pressure on the government of the Philippines to curb human rights abuses.
Determined to have foreign assistance legislation for the first time since 1981, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) successfully besought sponsors of several amendments involving aid to antigovernment rebels in Nicaragua to attach those proposals to other measures.
One of those, the defense authorization, is scheduled for debate today. After a lunchtime meeting yesterday called by Minority Leader Robert C. Byrd Jr. (D-W.Va.), eight senators agreed to have their staffs try to produce a combined bill.
The foreign aid bill includes $3.7 billion in economic and military aid to Israel, $1.3 billion for Egypt, $15 million in humanitarian aid to rebels in Afghanistan, $715 million in credits and grants to Turkey and $500 million to Greece.
Lugar said the Reagan administration has decided to support the measure, and he said it should have "a pretty good chance" in the House, which has not yet considered its version.
The Senate followed the lead of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and approved $5 million in aid to non-communist rebels in Cambodia, adding a requirement that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) acknowledge publicly that it is also providing material aid.
Although the administration and House members have said ASEAN has asked the United States for help, ASEAN has not confirmed that its aid program exists. "We got far out in front in Indochina in the 1960s," said Sen. Frank H. Murkowsky (D-Alaska). "Why should the United States be asked to do what ASEAN is reluctant to do openly?"
The foreign aid bill also provides $100 million in military aid and $95 million in economic assistance to the Philippines, but on an 89-to-8 vote the Senate approved a non-binding resolution that attached conditions to future aid.
Sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the resolution said aid to the Philippines should be granted only if Congress finds "sufficient progress" toward free elections and civil rights, a halt to "extra-judicial killings" by the police and armed forces, the release of political prisoners, and prosecution in the murder of exiled leader Benigno Aquino.
"The security of the United States will be enhanced in the Philippines only by a return to democracy at the earliest possible moment," Kerry said.
The Senate gave voice vote approval to several measures aimed at curbing illegal drug traffic.