The US Senate, more generous than Congress or the PresidentPosted: July 26, 2013
Earlier this week I noted how the White House submitted a budget of ~$616 million for the Non-proliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs in FY14 and the US Congress, via the House Appropriations Committee had approved a budget of the same amount. At the time I said it was great to see bi-partisan agreement on an issue I care deeply about. What I did not express was my indignation at the fact that the FY14 ask from the White House was almost ~$100 million less than the FY12 enacted budget of ~$711 million. And that the FY14 figure represented a 16% cut (from $150 million to $126 million) in the amount available specifically for demining (White House http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2014/assets/sta.pdf).
Fortunately, the United States Senate is there to restore a little order, especially since Patrick Leahy (D-Vt), the unchallenged champion of mine action in the US government, is not only the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, but he is also the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. First, the overall Non-proliferation account budget is increased from $616 million to $700 million. Second, the Senate appropriated $149 million specifically for humanitarian demining, earmarking $12 million of that for Laos (Government Printing Office http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-113srpt81/pdf/CRPT-113srpt81.pdf; Senate Committee on Appropriations http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=d0e8f76f-1bd9-4255-b2df-f32aee827502). This is better, much better from the Senate and I applaud Mr. Leahy’s continuing support for mine action.
Michael P. Moore
July 26, 2013