House Markup Of Supplemental Spending Bill That Includes Haiti Relief Delayed One Week

A supplemental spending bill that is expected to include earthquake relief aid for Haiti will be considered by the full House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee during the week of April 26 and will not be written this week as several aides and members had anticipated, C.W. Bill Young, the committee’s ranking Republican from Florida, said, CQ Today reports. “We were going to try to go to the full committee next week,” Young said on Thursday, noting, “I think that’s slipped a week.”

According to the publication, “The administration has requested $33 billion in additional funding to support war-related expenses … Also requested was $2.8 billion to cover U.S. costs of aiding as the impoverished island nation copes with the aftermath of the earthquake that struck in January. The total would include repayments for U.S. agencies that have already helped in the relief effort.”

After the House committee acts, the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the measure, which is “expected to pass both chambers,” CQ Today writes (Donnelly/Conlon, 4/16).

Clinton Discusses Ongoing Health Threats In Haiti, Need For World Support

In related news, Former President Bill Clinton focused on the need for continuing involvement in Haiti from the international community during a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) at the University of Miami Saturday, the Canadian Press reports. Clinton “downplayed the possibility of corruption sidetracking rebuilding in earthquake-devastated Haiti” and “said Haiti has the best chance in his lifetime of becoming a self-sustaining nation, but cautioned against complacency,” the news service writes.

“Clinton said he loved Haiti and its people, and was truly optimistic the country could be rebuilt. ‘I’m 63 years old. Do you think I’d commit the next five years of my life to working down there if I thought it was a losing enterprise?’ he asked” (Sedensky, 4/18).

“[E]arthquake-ravaged Haiti topped the list of issues discussed” at CGIU, CBS4 writes. In addition to the need for world support, Clinton “also spoke on several immediate needs in the country: sanitation and shelter as the 2010 rainy season approaches.”

He said, “So we want to build some pre-fab (pre-fabricated), open structures that can be used as schools or clinics or whatever, but if a hurricane is coming we can jam people in to minimize damage.” Clinton continued, “And when the rains come, there will be big puddles of water hanging around. And if these waters are contaminated and children with cuts on their feet step in them, they are at risk of getting dysentery, diarrhea, cholera, lots of other things” (Belton, 4/17).

Clinton said between 20,000 and 40,000 displaced Haitians face “an emergency situation” before hurricanes whip through the country, the Miami Herald writes. More than one million Haitians are “living in tent settlements that are simply too low to be certifiably safe if you have massive rain, accompanying a hurricane or without it,” he said (Rosenberg, 4/17).

Clinton also appeared on ABC’s This Week and discussed his work in Haiti and President Barack Obama’s Global Health Initiative (Tapper, 4/18).

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