|2:05 PM EDT||
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-MI 13th
Ms. KILPATRICK of Michigan. Mr. Chairman, I thank our ranking member, the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey), for yielding me this time and wish a happy birthday to our chairman and thank the gentleman from Arizona for his leadership as we work for the world right here in this Chamber.
I also want to thank the gentleman from California (Chairman Lewis) and the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), the ranking member, for helping us to fashion a bill that is fair. Yes, we could use more money. Our 302(b) allocations limit what we can do, but I think it is a perfect start. The Senate has $1.5 billion more to spend than we have in our bill, and I believe in conference we will see a better bill.
I want to highlight a few things about why I strongly support this bill. Everyone says it is not enough. It is never enough. HIV/AIDS is funded at the highest level it has been. I want to commend the leadership of the subcommittee. We are over a billion dollars more than the President requested for HIV and AIDS.
The Sudan and peacekeeping operations there, we are going in the right direction. We believe with this money to help Sudan we will be able to see some stability in that region soon.
I want to speak about the Middle East. I am a strong proponent of peace in the Middle East. We must have that, and our partners there are working for that.
I recently visited Egypt on my second visit there, and found that Egypt, which I already knew, some 70-plus million people, is our strongest military ally in the region. Egypt purchases our weapons and does our training and also stabilizes the other countries: Israel, with 3 to 4 million people; Jordan with 7 or 8 million people; Lebanon, Syria. The government of Egypt and President Mubarak are the peacekeepers and have been very instrumental in the Abbas-Sharon talks, as well as the Lebanon
and Syria talks. So I would hope we continue to fund Egypt to work with Egypt to make sure that they keep their commitments to the Middle East as well as to this government. I am very confident that as we work together with Egypt and with the Middle East, we will hope to see peace as we work there.
This bill also provides educational opportunities for thousands of young people all over the world who are unable to fund their own education. We know education is the difference between success and failure in young people's lives; and the better the education, the more options young people have.
Mr. Chairman, let us continue to work to build a better, stronger world. The U.S. is the largest country, the strongest country in the world. I would not want to be anywhere else. We have a responsibility to build, to grow, and to be good foreign partners. I believe this foreign ops bill for 2006 continues that effort. I urge a ``yes'' vote on the foreign operations bill. It is not perfect, but it is certainly a good piece of legislation as it moves through Congress.