Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, April 11, 2003

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Hyde Urges Iraqi Children’s Fund
An opportunity for Americans to donate funds for benefit of young Iraqis

 

(WASHINGTON) - Americans are anxious to be generous with donations of humanitarian aid for the children of Iraq, U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde suggested today, and he urged the Bush Administration to lead such an effort.
In a letter to the President, Congressman Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, suggested that the Administration work to establish the Iraqi Children’s Fund (ICF). The proposed Fund would be drawn from money appropriated for the reconstruction of Iraq and be coupled with a non-profit entity to which Americans could make tax-deductible contributions to assist children caught in the crossfire of war.

“Although we are justified in celebrating the coalition’s success against Saddam Hussein’s regime...our attention must turn immediately to giving the Iraqi people a sense of hope and helping them establish normal lives for themselves and their families after decades of dictatorship and war,” Hyde wrote in the letter to the President.
“As we shape our post-war assistance efforts, I believe we should move quickly to provide these children with the care they need and deserve,” Hyde added.

In his letter, Hyde also urged the President to use discretionary authority granted to him in the $74 billion supplemental appropriations legislation, now working its way through Congress, and earmark money specifically for the benefit of Iraq’s children.

“Although our planned assistance efforts for post-war Iraq will include programs for all segments of the Iraqi population, the ICF will ensure that the focus and resources required to address the needs of these children will be made available as quickly as is possible,” Hyde said.

A text of the letter to President Bush:

The President
The White House

Although we are justified in celebrating the coalition’s success against Saddam Hussein’s regime and the liberation of the people of Iraq, our attention must turn immediately to giving the Iraqi people a sense of hope and helping them establish normal lives for themselves and their families after decades of dictatorship and war. Although all Iraqis have endured enormous privation, it is the suffering of Iraq’s children that moves us most. As we shape our post-war assistance efforts, I believe we should move quickly to provide these children with the care they need and deserve.

To that end, I am proposing the establishment of the Iraqi Children’s Fund (ICF). Although our planned assistance efforts for post-war Iraq will include programs for all segments of the Iraqi population, the ICF will ensure that the focus and resources required to address the needs of these children will be made available as quickly as is possible. In order to maximize its effectiveness, the ICF should also include the participation of the private sector and that of individual Americans.

Given the urgent nature of the task, I believe that you should take a leading role in ensuring that the ICF begin to immediately address the needs of the children of Iraq. I would urge that you use the discretion that you have been provided in the supplemental appropriation to provide seed money for the Iraqi Children’s Fund. I would also urge you to establish a non-profit entity to solicit tax-deductible donations from the people of the United States to use in programs to assist the relief and reconstruction efforts directed at the children of Iraq. Given this vehicle, I am certain that the American people will once again demonstrate their inexhaustible generosity in helping those in need in foreign lands.

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