LAWMAKERS CALL FOR ANSWERS ABOUT $34 MILLION FOR INTERNATIONAL FAMILY PLANNING
Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Congressman Jim Greenwood (R-PA), Congresswoman Connie Morella (R-MD), and other Members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell inquiring about the $34 million Congress appropriated for United Nations Family Planning (UNFPA), but was instead given to USAID Programs. In late July, President Bush made the decision to invoke Kemp-Kasten, thereby defunding UNFPA. It took the State Department 38 days to notify its intention to make this transfer, and the money has still not been released to USAID.
"My concern continues to be that USAID operates in only 84 countries compared to the 140 countries where UNFPA operates, and there appears to be no plan to address this issue. Sadly, the countries that will be left out are the ones most desperate for family planning services. Women and children around the world depend on this support, so we believe it is fair to ask for a swift and responsible application of these funds," said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney in a statement today.
Congressman Joseph Crowley added, "We want answers from the Bush Administration. Months after this UNFPA aid was promised to help women and children in the world's poorest countries, the Administration reneged without having the courtesy to inform us or those who are on the front lines fighting to reduce poverty and improve healthcare for the world's neediest. These women deserve to know where their promised funding is going and when it will be received."
In a statement released today, Congressman Jim Greenwood said, "We cannot let another year pass with women around the world suffering from a lack of U.S. finacial support and from policies that would be unconstitutional in our own country. That is why I would like to ensure that the money diverted from UNFPA is going to programs that will yield similar results to those experienced in years past."
In a letter signed by Representatives Crowley (D-NY), Lantos (D-CA), Morella (R-MD), Waxman (D-CA), Schakowsky (D-IL), and Greenwood (R-PA) lawmakers called on Secretary Powell to clarify several key questions. Some of the questions asked include:
- When can we expect the first installment of the $34 million will be sent to and spent in the field?
- How is USAID filling the gap left by the defunding of UNFPA if it is only going into one new country?
- Are there plans to stop working with NGOs that are currently working with UNFPA?
- What steps have been taken to issue regulations on how this money must be spent?
The letter can be viewed in its entirety by going to :