The Senate Banking committee on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation designed to pressure Sudan to ease suffering in its Darfur region by authorizing state and local governments to divest funds from foreign companies that do business with Sudan.
The 21-0 vote was quickly adopted after Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, withdrew a proposed amendment that would have empowered President George W. Bush to override decisions by the local governments.
"I don't think we want to give local governments authority in foreign policy decisions," Hagel said. But he said he was stepping aside to back the bipartisan measure already approved in July by the House of Representatives.
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said the aim was to ease "grinding misery" in Darfur.