Thursday, June 21, 2007

URGENT: Cuba vote in two hours; calls needed to new members

SHORT AND SWEET: Your call to new members of Congress is needed NOW.

The House of Representatives is voting today on the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which funds the Department of State and USAID programs. Included is funding for so-called "democracy programs" in Cuba. The bill includes $9 million for these programs, which is the same as FY 2007. The committee that wrote the bill points to prior misuse of this money and is requiring USAID and the Department of State to present a plan for improved coordination, and for oversight of the Cuba program.

The Bush Administration asked for $45 million for this program, a budgetary increase of $36 million. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart has introduced an amendment to the Foreign Ops bill to restore funding in the bill to reach the level of the Bush request, $45 million. The debate on this amendment was completed about an hour ago, and the vote on the amendment will happen in about two hours. This amendment must be defeated.

ACTION: Please call your member of Congress, ESPECIALLY IF HE/SHE IS A NEW MEMBER. See the LAWG website for a list of new members and their phone numbers: http://www.lawg.org/docs/newmembers.pdf . Ask your member to VOTE AGAINST the Diaz-Balart/Sires amendment to increase USAID funding for "democracy assistance programs in Cuba."

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