President Clinton has signed a waiver lifting a restriction on U.S. funds for international family planning organizations that promote abortion, the White House said yesterday.
The restriction was imposed as part of a compromise that the White House reached with Republicans in Congress to pay off about $1 billion that the United States owes in dues to the United Nations.
A White House spokesman said Republicans agreed to the compromise knowing that Clinton would take steps to lift the restriction. "We made it very clear at the time that the president was going to exercise the waiver," the spokesman said. By signing the waiver, Clinton triggered an automatic small reduction in the $385 million earmarked for family planning groups.
About $12 million of the money will have to go to international children's health programs for fiscal 2000, the White House spokesman said.
Congressional Democrats had criticized the compromise. The issue of U.S. funds for international family planning groups is likely to come up again next year.
Last week, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said Clinton would try to restore spending on international family planning programs in the next budget to the 1995 level of $541.6 million.
The waiver "allows us to pay our U.N. dues finally, and fund international family planning at 97 percent until the new fiscal year," one administration official said.
The United States had been in danger of losing its seat in the General Assembly over its unpaid dues.