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2003 Ron Paul Chapter 80
17 July 2003
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Congressional Record Cached
Not linked on Ron Pauls Congressional website.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, July 17, 2003
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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, today I introduce the Foreign Aid Limitation Act. This bill limits the ability of the Executive Branch to use the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) to distribute largesse to foreign countries without the approval of Congress.
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The Foreign Aid Limitation Act prohibits the Secretary of the Treasury from using the ESF to make a loan or extend credit to any foreign government or entity for an amount exceeding $250,000,000. The bill also forbids the ESF from being used to finance a loan or to extend credit, to any foreign government or entity for a period exceeding 60 days. The 60-day limitation can be waived if the President certifies in writing to the Chair and ranking members of the relevant House and Senate Committees that the United States obtained an assured source of repayment before making the loan or extending the credit. Finally, the bill prohibits the use of the ESF to make loans or extend credit in an amount exceeding $1,000,000,000 to a foreign government or entity without express statutory authorization. This provision can also be waived if the President certifies in writing to the heads of the relevant committees that the loan is necessary to address a financial crisis threatening the United States and Congress does not pass a joint resolution disapproving the loan or credit.
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Mr. Speaker, these provisions all passed Congress as riders on appropriations bills in the 1990s. However, they have not been included in the appropriations bills for the past several years. It is long past time for Congress to make these provisions permanent. Over the past several years there has been great controversy over the use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund. This fund was created in the 1930s to help stabilize the exchange value of the dollar, yet it has mutated into a slush fund used by the executive branch to funnel money to foreign governments and even foreign companies free of congressional oversight.
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In particular, there was great controversy over the Clinton administrations use of the ESF to finance the Mexican bailout without Congressional approval in 1995. Today, there is a similar controversy over the use of the ESF in the Iraq rebuilding process. Ensuring the fund is only used for narrow purposes will help end the controversy by bringing greater transparency to the disbursement of foreign aid. Even supporters of a vigorous foreign aid program should support restoring Congress rightful role as appropriator and overseer of foreign aid funds.
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Mr. Speaker, it long past time for Congress to begin reasserting its constitutional role in the appropriation of funds for foreign aid programs. For too long, the Exchange Stabilization Fund has allowed the executive branch to commit the American taxpayer to supporting foreign governments without even consulting with Congress. I hope all my colleagues will join my efforts to end this practice by cosponsoring my Foreign Aid Limitation Act.