NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CROATIAN AMERICANS
1329 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
PHONE: (202) 331-2830 NFCAhdq@aol.com FAX: (202) 331-0050
For Immediate Release: September 25, 2002
Media Contact: Joe Foley (tel: 301-294-0937)
APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ACTS ON REQUEST TO INCREASE U.S. FUNDING FOR CROATIA
WASHINGTON, D.C. - On September 12, 2002, the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives marked up and passed legislation entitled the "Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2003." A provision added to the Committees Report -- under the heading "Assistance for Eastern Europe and the Baltic States" -- provides an additional $25 million above the Presidents budget request of $495 million for this region for Fiscal Year 2003. As the Committee Report to the Bill reads, "The increase above the budget request is intended for additional assistance for Montenegro, the Baltic States, Croatia and regional efforts to solidify democratic gains through the National Endowment for Democracy and other institutions." The funding measure is now on its way to the Floor of the House of Representatives and eventual approval by the full U.S. Congress.
National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA) President John Kraljic said that this potential increase in economic assistance for which Croatia is eligible "will help to aid the sustained stabilization and general expansion of the economy of Croatia. The NFCA in Washington, along with its lobbying firm, Foley Government and Public Affairs Inc., plans to continue to strongly support and play an active public affairs role on such important funding legislation and international affairs initiatives affecting Croatia in Washington with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Congress, and other Federal entities," Kraljic added.
Kraljic also cited the strong support of U.S. Representatives Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, and George Radanovich (R-CA). Both Members of Congress petitioned the Committee to expand this significant international economic assistance program and to include additional funding for Croatia, a remarkable achievement in light of the increasingly tight budget situation in Washington. Kraljic noted that: "It is time for Croatian Americans to now write to their Congressional Representatives and ask them to protect this additional funding for Croatia as it moves through Congress. We must also ask our Members of Congress to vote to pass the Bill when it comes to the House and Senate Floors this Fall and ask their Congressional colleagues to support the legislation (please contact your Member of Congress at 202-225-3121)."
Kraljic further noted that the fight for increased aid is only half the battle. "We are also concerned that the money be spent wisely and not be used to provide funding to organizations that do not have Croatias best interests at heart. The NFCA will continue to fight on this front as well to protect the interests of Croatians on this matter."
The NFCA is a Washington, D.C.-based national umbrella organization that represents over 20 Croatian American groups and