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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY13 State And Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $52.1 billion appropriations bill to fund U.S. state and foreign operations in FY 2013, Devex reports. “The committee voted 29-1 to send the … bill to the full Senate floor for consideration,” the news service writes, adding, “It is still unclear when the bill will be scheduled for a full Senate vote” (Mungcal, 5/25). “The Senate bill would provide $8.5 billion to the [Global Health Initiative (GHI)], which is approximately $600 million more than the President’s FY13 request ($7.9 billion) and $500 million more than the House FY13 appropriations bill [.pdf] ($8.0 billion),” the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Policy Tracker” writes, noting, “It is also approximately $300 million above the FY12 amount ($8.2 billion)” (5/24).

The Senate committee voted 19-12 for an amendment that would permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy, or so-called “global gag rule” — which prohibits foreign aid from going to any organization that performs abortions or provides information about or referral for the procedure as a method of family planning — “setting up a clash with the House,” The Hill’s “Global Affairs” blog writes, noting the House committee voted against a similar amendment last week (Pecquet, 5/24). “The committee also voted to cut Pakistan’s aid by $1 million for each of the 33 years of a prison sentence given to” Shakil Afridi, a doctor convicted of treason for helping the CIA to track down Osama bin Laden through a fake vaccination program, the Guardian reports (McGreal, 5/24). “The amendment by Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), was adopted … with a unanimous 30-0 vote,” National Journal reports (Sorcher, 5/24). “Taken together, the Senate bill has significantly different funding priorities than the House bill, which will ensure challenging conference negotiations later this year with the House,” the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition writes (Sorcher, 5/24).

Additional details regarding the international health aspects of the FY13 Senate committee’s appropriations bill are available on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Policy Tracker.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.