WASHINGTON -- (AP) -- Congressional negotiators agreed Wednesday
full funding next year for the School of the Americas, rejecting last summer's
House vote to slash the budget of the controversial Army school in Georgia.
Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said the House conferees on the fiscal
operations spending bill voted to accept the Senate's position that provided $2
million in the State Department budget to pay the expenses of Latin American
soldiers who attend the school at Fort Benning.
While the action will not become final until the conference on
the entire bill is
concluded, Kingston said the section covering funding for the school has been
closed and cannot be reopened.
``The School of the Americas is in there,'' he said. ``It's survived another year.''
The House voted 230-197 last summer to eliminate the $2 million
in training funds
after opponents of the school argued that many of its graduates had been linked
to human rights atrocities in Latin America. The school had survived four previous
House votes since 1993.
The school has been the target of a decadelong campaign by religious
upset that graduates of the school were linked to the 1989 murders of six Jesuit
priests and two women in El Salvador.
The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who has spearheaded
against the school, said the conference committee action Wednesday won't slow
``We are not going away,'' he said. ``We're going to keep coming
Washington and to the main gate of Fort Benning in greater and greater numbers
every year until that school is shut down.''
The House conferees voted 8-7 to recede to the Senate position.
Kingston said the House agreed to go along with continued funding
for the school
because members of the foreign operations spending panel did not want to lose
jurisdiction over the school, which also receives funding from the Defense
Copyright 1999 Miami Herald