Congresswoman Waters urges appropriators to fully fund emergency assistance for Haiti and Liberia
On June 6, 2006, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Appropriations urging them not to cut emergency assistance for Haiti and Liberia. The letter was signed by 22 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). The text of the letter follows:
We write as members of the Congressional Black Caucus to ask you to include $40 million in emergency assistance for Haiti and $50 million in emergency assistance for Liberia in the Conference Report for the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2006. These emergency appropriations were added to the Administration's supplemental request during congressional consideration.
The Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, as passed by the Senate, includes $40 million for Haiti to increase economic opportunities; support police, judicial and legal reforms; and address critical health needs. Both the House and the Senate versions of the bill include $50 million for Liberia to facilitate emergency employment activities; infrastructure development projects; democracy, human rights and rule of law programs; and activities to assist with the demobilization of ex-rebel combatants and their reintegration into society. None of these emergency appropriations were included in the Administration's original request. However, they are essential for the respective development of these countries.
Both Haiti and Liberia recently held successful democratic elections. Large numbers of citizens in each of these countries proved their commitment to democracy by participating in the elections and lining up for hours to vote. Rene Garcia Preval was elected President of Haiti on February 7, 2006, during national elections in which more than 60 percent of registered voters participated. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected President of Liberia on November 8, 2005, in a run-off, following national elections in which 74 percent of registered voters participated. In addition, President Johnson-Sirleaf is the first woman to be elected president of any country in Africa.
The populations of Haiti and Liberia have each suffered tremendously in past years as a result of poverty, political violence and oppression, and the challenges facing the newly elected governments of these countries are enormous. They will need the support and assistance of the United States to ensure national reconciliation and development and to improve the lives of their people. Now is the time for the United States to provide emergency assistance funds that will help these two newly elected governments build a better future for the people they serve.
Therefore, we respectfully urge you to include $40 million for Haiti and $50 million for Liberia in the Conference Report for the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2006. We thank you for your attention to our concerns and look forward to working with you to promote democracy and development in Haiti and Liberia.
Maxine Waters Donald Payne
Barbara Lee John Conyers
Charles Rangel Gregory Meeks
Donna Christensen Eleanor Holmes Norton
Edolphus Towns Elijah Cummings
Melvin L. Watt Sheila Jackson-Lee
Corrine Brown Kendrick B. Meek
Robert C. "Bobby" Scott Diane Watson
Cynthia McKinney Chaka Fattah
Major R. Owens Alcee Hastings
Juanita Millender-McDonald Julia Carson