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A Senate appropriations subcommittee yesterday recommended $440.2 million in funding for State Department exchange programs in FY2006.

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The Senate on Friday voted to confirm Dina Habib Powell as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. In addition to heading ECA, Powell will also serve as Deputy Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. President Bush has nominated Karen Hughes for the under secretary post.

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Sens. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced legislation on May 25 to increase the knowledge and expertise of Chinese language and culture in the U.S. The legislation calls for expanded academic, cultural and business outreach activities in order to develop stronger and more enduring ties between the U.S. and China.

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Following three days of debate, the House of Representatives this afternoon approved legislation to fund the public diplomacy and exchange programs of the Department of State in FY 2006. The bill, H.R. 2862, includes $410.4 million for the Department’s educational and cultural exchange programs, an increase of $54.468 million above the FY 2005 level, but $20 million below the President’s budget request.

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Seeking to address the need for additional foreign language skills and international cultural awareness among American citizens, two new bills were introduced in the Senate last month.

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The House Appropriations Committee approved legislation on Tuesday that would fund exchange programs administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at $410.4 million in FY 2006. The amount would provide an increase for exchanges of $54.468 million above the FY 2005 level, but is $20 million below the Bush Administration’s request. The bill also includes a funding increase for other public diplomacy programs.

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The House Appropriations Committee approved legislation on Tuesday that would fund exchange programs administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at $410.4 million in FY 2006. The amount would provide an increase for exchanges of $54.468 million above the FY 2005 level, but is $20 million below the Bush Administration’s request. The bill also includes a funding increase for other public diplomacy programs.

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Called by Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) ‘exactly the right person’ for the job of Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Dina Habib Powell said today that she is “committed to widening the two-way highway of people-to-people exchanges as part of Secretary Rice’s vision of transformational diplomacy.”

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee
May 26, 2005

The following text is as prepared for delivery.

Chairman Sununu, Ranking Member Nelson, distinguished members of this subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today as President Bush’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Thank you also to Senator Hutchison and Senator Cornyn for introducing me today.

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The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to authorize $34.2 billion for the programs and activities of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last Wednesday. The bill, H.R. 1817, passed the House by a vote of 424-4.

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