May 2, 2017
1. Government Shutdown Avoided: Congress Passes One-Week Continuing Resolution
With hours to go before a shutdown, Congress approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open until May 5 and buy a few more days to negotiate a final FY17 spending bill. The stop-gap measure, which passed the House by a vote of 382-30 and passed the Senate by voice vote, maintains the same funding level for the FY17 International Affairs Budget – $58.8 billion – that was approved in December.
A one-week CR was needed as negotiations around a final FY17 spending bill were slowed this week due in part to disagreements around health insurance subsidies and border wall funding, though the Administration eventually retreated on both contentious issues in the interest of averting a government shutdown. Negotiators appear close to a deal but other complexities, including the repeal of Obamacare and tax reform discussions, could still throw a wrench in the process and prolong passage of a final FY17 bill.
As a reminder, the Administration recommended a 5.7% cut ($3.8 billion) to the FY17 International Affairs Budget. While the one-week CR did not include any cuts and lawmakers have largely rejected the idea of deep and disproportionate cuts to the International Affairs Budget, we should know next week whether development and diplomacy programs will be protected in FY17.
While FY17 negotiations are still underway and we have yet to see a full budget proposal from the Administration, Congress is starting its work on FY18. This week, House Budget Committee Chair Diane Black (R-TN) said she is looking to mark up a FY18 budget resolution the week of May 15 and move the proposal to the House floor by the end of the month. The Senate Budget Committee appears to be farther behind in the process.
The Administration is now targeting the week of May 22nd to release its full FY18 budget proposal. At that point, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin holding hearings on the budget and writing the FY18 spending bills in earnest.
2. More Details on FY18: Leaked Budget Document Sheds Light on Impact of 31% Cut to International Affairs Budget
This week Foreign Policy released an article containing a leaked internal State Department budget document that sheds light on the impact of the cuts proposed by the Administration for FY18 and confirms some of the most troubling rumors about the fate of certain development programs.
It is important to note that this document does not give nearly a full picture of the Administration’s proposal and we understand that changes have been made since this document – which is dated April 6th – was leaked. With that in mind, here are our takeaways: