The U.S. Senate approved the allocation of 401.8 million dollars from the budget in the financial year 2008. The funds will be used to implement assistance programs to the republics of the former USSR. In addition, the USA plans to spend 294.5 million dollars for the countries of Eastern Europe and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).
The document, which the U.S. Senate approved Tuesday, stipulates the allocation of not less than eight million dollars for the humanitarian and civil assistance to Caucasian republics of Russia’s south: Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan and North Ossetia, ITAR-TASS reports.
To crown it all, U.S. law-makers allowed to assign $500,000 to the U.S. Forest Service to implement a program to protect forests and animals in Russia’s Far East.
Senators also obliged the U.S. Department of State with establishing a new position in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The new official will have to observe the situation with the protection of human rights in Russia, non-governmental and opposition organizations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate approved a massive $555 billion spending bill Tuesday combining funding for 14 Cabinet departments with $70 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate cast two votes Tuesday night to approve the hybrid spending bill. By a 70-25 vote, the Senate approved the Iraq and Afghanistan war funds - without restrictions that Democrats had insisted on for weeks, the AP reports.
The House is slated Wednesday to ready the entire package for Bush, though the vote will be only on the Iraq portion of the measure. That vote would cap a parliamentary dance choreographed to ease the overall package through a chamber split between Democratic opponents of the Iraq war and Republican foes of the domestic spending portion of the bill.