The Appropriations Committee of U.S. House of Representatives has published the Fiscal Year 2021 State and Foreign Operations Funding Bill. The bill envisages providing funds for the US Department of State’s International Development Agency (USAID) and other international programs and activities.
According to the project published by the Appropriations Committee, at least $ 132,025,000 will be allocated for Georgia. However, the published document notes about the withholding of part of the funding.
“Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia’’ and made available for assistance for the central Government of Georgia, 15 percent may not be obligated until the Secretary of State determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is taking effective steps to—
– strengthen democratic institutions as described under this section in the report accompanying this Act;
– combat corruption within the government, including in the application of anti-corruption laws and regulations; and
– ensure the rule of law in the private sector is consistent with internationally recognized standards, including protecting the rights of foreign businesses to operate free from harassment and to fully realize all due commercial and financial benefits resulting from investments made in Georgia” – the document reads.
According to the bill, the withholding shall not apply to programs that support democracy, the rule of law, civil society and the media, or programs to reduce gender-based violence and to protect vulnerable populations.
The document notes that “The Secretary may waive the application of paragraph (2) if the Secretary determines and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that to do so is important to the national interest of the United States, including a description of the national interest served”.