For a full analysis of the President’s FY 2012 International Affairs budget request, click here.
The President’s FY12 request comes amidst great uncertainty regarding FY11 spending levels, with votes expected this week in the House of Representatives to cut $100 billion from discretionary programs, including 19 percent from the International Affairs budget. Amendments to cut FY11 International Affairs funding even further are anticipated during this week’s House debate.
Needless to say, the President’s FY12 budget request and the House’s FY11 proposal offer radically different approaches to funding the federal government.
For the International Affairs budget, one of the most significant differences is how the Administration and House Appropriators categorize these programs. For the past five budgets, Republican and Democratic Administrations have grouped International Affairs within a cluster of spending categories that collectively make up the U.S. National Security budget. This bipartisan recognition of the critical role our civilian agencies contribute to our national security mirrors the calls from military voices including Secretary of Defense Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen, and General David Petraeus.
The Administration’s FY 2012 request continues this practice, exempting the International Affairs budget from its five-year freeze on non-security spending. The House proposal categorizes these programs as non-security funding, subjecting them to deep – and in some cases devastating — cuts.
The proposed levels in the House’s latest FY 2011 plan weaken the bipartisan achievement over the past several years to strengthen our civilian agencies, which have been widely viewed as underfunded and understaffed – and vital to our national interests. Specifically, the proposed cuts would: