Today’s story from CNN reports that the U.S. will be waiving the fee to evacuate Americans from Lebanon:
The Bush administration is waiving the requirement that Americans have to pay or reimburse the government for being evacuated from Lebanon, aides to two senators said.
Maura Harty, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, said this in a press briefing yesterday:
The law that requires us to [charge for evacuation] was written in 1956. We have text of it here. I won’t read it to you completely, but Section 4b-2a of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 22 USC 2671 authorizes the Secretary of State to provide for the evacuation, but on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable.
Jack Cafferty was furious about this yesterday, saying that it was a law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2003. If the law was originally written in 1956 – 50 years ago — it’s unfair and misleading of Cafferty to lay all the blame on the Bush administration.