What: All Issues : War & Peace : Respect for International Law & the United Nations : HR 2764. (Fiscal 2008 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would redirect money from an environmental facility to a malaria and child survival initiative/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 323)
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HR 2764. (Fiscal 2008 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations) Coburn of Oklahoma amendment that would redirect money from an environmental facility to a malaria and child survival initiative/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 323     Sep 06, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would take $107 million allocated by the underlying bill for a Global Environment Facility (GEF) operated by the World Bank and United Nations, and redirect it to President Bush’s global malaria and child survival initiative.  The GEF helps developing countries fund programs that protect the environment. This amendment, offered to the bill that funds the State Department and foreign operations programs in fiscal 2008, was one of several Coburn offered seeking to shift funds away from the World Bank.

Coburn said the GEF, which is run by the World Bank but managed by the United Nations, has been ineffectual at one of its stated goals of addressing or preventing harm to the environment caused by manmade climate change.  Therefore, Coburn said, the money should be spent elsewhere, such as on programs to mitigate malaria and other pediatric illnesses worldwide.

“The Office of Management and Budget has audited or looked at this, and there are no results [the global environment facility] can demonstrate; there is no direction in terms of the grants or no evaluation of the grants. They said it is failing to prevent any environmental damage, based on what they have seen. It hasn’t mitigated any that are already there,” Coburn said. “It doesn’t allocate its funds based on performance or environmental benefit. In other words, there is no relationship between getting the result and the money that was spent. It lacks any significant anticorruption guidelines.”

Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said it is difficult to envision a program that would be more shortsighted to cut funding for than the GEF, given its global mandate.  “Unless, I guess, you are among the dwindling few who still believes global warming is a hoax, that the pollution of the Earth’s rivers and sources of drinking water is of no concern, that the destruction of the remaining areas of tropical forests and endangered species does not matter, and that we don’t need the ozone layer,” Leahy said.

By a vote of 46-47, the Senate defeated the amendment.  All Democrats present voted against the amendment.  All but one Republican present voted for it (Sam Brownback of Kansas).  The end result was that the measure went forward without language that would have shifted $107 million from the Global Environment Facility into programs to treat malaria and global childhood illnesses.

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