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U.S. House OKs $10.7 million cut to East-West Center

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The East-West Center is watching closely as Congress debates the organization’s budget for the remainder of the federal fiscal year.

The Republican-controlled House on today passed an amendment that would eliminate $10.7 million in funding for the 50-year-old Honolulu-based institution that promotes understanding between the U.S. and Asia-Pacific nations. 

The House is expected to pass the amended budget, but the legislation faces a rocky reception in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Democrats there have not yet said what level of cuts, if any, they will accept through Sept. 30. 

"Just like everyone whose budget is right now not confirmed, we’re watching this very carefully," said East-West Center spokeswoman Karen Knudsen. "It’s a difficult situation because we don’t know what the final outcome will be.".

 The East-West center has received about $21 million annually from the federal government in recent years.

This year, it was allocated $10.8 million in a budget designed to fund programs through March 4. The additional $10.7 million would help the center function for the rest of the fiscal year which ends in September.

Hawaii Republican Party Chairman Jonah Kaauwai in a statement chastised U.S. Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono for not preventing the amendment’s passage.

Hanabusa and Hirono, both Democrats, registered their protest to the funding cut in letters addressed to House Speaker John Boehner.

The amendment was submitted by freshman Republican congressman Rep. Francisco Canseco of Texas.

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