Congress Rejects Suspension of International Anti-Drug Certification Process
On July 16, an amendment to the fiscal 1998 foreign aid spending bill, which would have suspended the process in which countries are "certified" by the President as cooperating in the anti-drug effort, was rejected by the U.S. Senate in a 60 to 38 vote. The amendment was sponsored by Senators Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) and backed by White House national security adviser Samuel R. Berger, and General Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (Thomas W. Lippman, "Senate Rejects Plan to Stop Rating Countries' Anti-Drug Cooperation," Washington Post, July 17, 1997, p. A8).
The bipartisan plan had called for the president to "appoint a high-level task force of foreign policy experts, law enforcement officials and drug specialists to develop a comprehensive program" for combating drugs during the two-year hiatus of the certification process. "It would gut the certification process and replace it with absolutely nothing," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).