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Panel OKs $568M for U.S. Embassies

July 23, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The House Appropriations Committee is proposing to spend $568 million to rebuild and fortify U.S. embassies, scaling down a more expensive plan endorsed earlier by the House.

The figure nearly doubles Clinton administration requests but falls far short of the $1.4 billion included in a House foreign operations bill passed Wednesday.

House appropriators determine proposed actual spending levels, which often differ from figures in other bills.

The money was part of $5.67 billion the committee approved Thursday for the State Department and related agencies next fiscal year, a $1.2 billion cut from this year’s budget and $506 million below President Clinton’s request.

The spending bill still must be approved by the full House, and final figures will be worked out in negotiations between the House and the Senate. The Senate approved the administration request of $300 million for embassy security.

The action came as a telephoned bomb threat forced the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Chad. A two-hour search of the building uncovered nothing, and the embassy was scheduled to reopen today.

It was the latest in a series of temporary embassy closures as the Aug. 7 first anniversary of twin bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa approaches. The U.S. Embassy in Mozambique remained closed for a fourth day Thursday.

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