By Shyamal Sinha
Congress of the United States, the legislature of the United States of America, established under the Constitution of 1789 and separated structurally from the executive and judicial branches of government. It consists of two houses: the Senate, in which each state, regardless of its size, is represented by two senators, and the House of Representatives (see Representatives, House of), to which members are elected on the basis of population. Among the express powers of Congress as defined in the Constitution are the power to lay and collect taxes, borrow money on the credit of the United States, regulate commerce, coin money, declare war, raise and support armies, and make all laws necessary for the execution of its powers.
The United States Congress approved a spending bill that will fund the United States government for the rest of the fiscal year 2018 through September 30, 2018. The massive bill includes $8 million for Tibetans inside Tibet and $6 Million for Tibetan community in India and Nepal. The Congress also approved an additional and a new line of funding of $3 million to strengthen the capacity of Tibetan institutions and governance in exile.
The Tibet section is listed separately as section (f) on page 1434 of The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. Section (f) subsection (2) (A) states:
“Not withstanding any other provision of law, of the 23 funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’ not less than $8,000,000 shall be made available to non-governmental organizations to support activities which preserve cultural traditions and promote sustainable development, education, and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan communities in China.”
Section (f) subsection (2) (B) states:
“Of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’, not less than $6,000,000 shall be made available for programs to promote and preserve Tibetan culture, development, and the resilience of Tibetan communities in India and Nepal, and to assist in the education and development of the next generation of Tibetan leaders from such communities.
Section (f) subsection (2) (C), which is a new line item under Tibetan Governance, states:
“Of the funds appropriated by the Act under the heading ‘‘Economic Support Fund’’, not less than $3,000,000 shall be made available for programs to strengthen the capacity of Tibetan institutions and governance.”
The continuation plus increase in Tibet funding by the Congress allays concerns that arose when President Trump presented his budget which included drastic cuts in foreign development assistance including some of the Tibetan programs.
Expressing his gratitude to the US government and congress for the funding, President Dr Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration said: “We remain thankful to the US government and congress for their generous financial assistance towards the Tibetan community.”