1981: Congress secretly approves $19 million in military aid for the Nicaraguan contras. The funds are managed by the Central Intelligence Agency.

1982: Congress allocates another $19 million in covert aid, but stipulates that the money cannot be used to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

NOVEMBER 1983: Congress votes $24 million in assistance to the contras, to continue through mid-1984. Legislators say the CIA may spend only this money, prohibiting the use of additional contingency funds for the rebels.

1984: Reports that the CIA oversaw the mining of Nicaraguan harbors infuriate Congress. Legislators cut off aid to the rebels.

JUNE 12, 1985: The House approves $27 million in "humanitarian" assistance for the contras. The Senate votes its approval in August. The Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department are barred from administering the aid.

JUNE 25, 1986: The House approves $100 million in aid and the Senate votes its approval in August. This fiscal 1987 appropriation includes $70 million in military aid and $30 million in nonmilitary aid.

SEPT. 30, 1987: The fiscal 1987 assistance expires, but money and materiel in the pipeline continue flowing to the contras. In subsequent weeks Congress authorizes about $20 million in "nonlethal aid" through stopgap spending bills. The last funds authorized will expire Feb. 29.

SOURCE: Facts on File, Associated Press