May 25, 2018

302(b)s Released – Congress Rejects Dangerous Proposals to Slash International Affairs Budget

1. 302(b) Allocations Released: Once Again, Congress Soundly Rejects Dangerous Proposal to Slash International Affairs Budget

This week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved topline spending levels, or 302(b) allocations, for FY19 – including for the State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bills, which fund the vast majority of the International Affairs Budget.

  • The House provided $54 billion for SFOPS, including $46 billion in base and $8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.
  • The Senate provided $54.4 billion for SFOPS, including $46.4 billion in base and $8 billion in OCO funding.

When compared to the FY18 enacted level, the House level holds funding steady while the Senate increases funding by some $400 million. Notably, both the House and Senate provided an additional $4 billion in base funding to compensate for the corresponding cut to OCO funding for FY19 included in the budget deal passed by Congress earlier this year.

State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Budget Snapshot

FY17 Enacted FY18 Enacted FY19 Request FY19 House FY19 Senate
Base $36.6 billion $42.0 billion $41.7 billion $46.0 billion $46.4 billion
OCO $20.8 billion* $12.0 billion $0 $8 billion $8 billion
Total $57.4 billion $54.0 billion $41.7 billion $54.0 billion $54.4 billion

*Includes $4.3 billion provided in the FY17 Security Assistance Appropriations Act

USGLC released a statement praising Congress for once again soundly rejecting dangerous proposals for America to withdraw from the world and setting funding levels that ensure our nation’s civilian tools can deliver results for the American people. From combatting terrorism and Ebola to competing in the world’s fastest growing markets, resources for development and diplomacy must keep pace with today’s growing global challenges.

During testimony this week on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also reiterated his commitment to advocate for appropriate resources for the State Department, declaring: “I will ensure the State Department has every dollar it needs to achieve its mission around the world.” Given the many complex needs around the world, this commitment is critical to help protect America’s national security and advance our interests.

Next Steps

The House and Senate SFOPS Appropriations Subcommittees are expected to mark up their spending bills in June. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership have discussed packaging two or three spending bills into so-called “minibuses” for consideration on the floor. The House is expected to vote on a minibus that will include the Energy-Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch bills when it returns from the Memorial Day recess. With the truncated legislative calendar of an election year, approving a series of minibuses may be a faster and more politically expedient method for finalizing FY19 spending.

2. International Food Aid Programs See Boost in Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY19 Agriculture spending bill, which not only rejects the Administration’s proposal to eliminate two critical international food aid programs, it increases funding above FY18 enacted levels. The bill includes $1.72 billion for Food for Peace, equal to the FY18 enacted level, and provides $210.3 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program – a nearly $3 million increase from FY18. It also directs that $15 million in McGovern-Dole funding be used for buying some food assistance locally or regionally.

Agriculture Appropriations International Programs Snapshot

FY17 Enacted FY18 Enacted FY19 Request FY19 House FY19 Senate
Food for Peace/PL 480 Title II $1.6 billion* $1.72 billion $0 $1.5 billion $1.72 billion
McGovern-Dole $202 million $207.6 million $0 $207.6 million $210.3 million
Local and Regional Procurement $0** $0*** $0 $0 $0****
Total $1.8 billion $1.92 billion $0 $1.71 billion $1.93 billion

*Does not reflect the Administration’s transfer of $300 million into the Food for Peace program from the International Disaster Assistance account in FY17.
**$5 million of McGovern-Dole funding is included for local and regional procurement.
***$10 million of McGovern-Dole funding is included for local and regional procurement.
****$15 million of McGovern-Dole funding is included for local and regional procurement.

3. Rescission Package Stalls in the House

As previously reported, the Administration has proposed to cancel a little over $15 billion in prior-year unobligated spending, including $334 million from the International Affairs Budget. These proposed rescissions include:

  • $252 million from the FY15 Ebola response;
  • $52 million for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC); and
  • $30 million from the Complex Crises Fund.

The rescission package was introduced in the House several weeks ago, but has yet to receive a vote on the floor due to bipartisan concerns with several of the proposed spending cancellations – including the funding for Ebola response.

Bipartisan Members of Congress expressed concern about the Administration’s proposed Ebola rescissions during hearings this week with Secretary Pompeo, particularly in light of the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In response to questions, Secretary Pompeo affirmed that it is critical that “we have the resources, not only for the current issue, the one we know about, the one that’s in the news today, but rather for each of these global health challenges, these risks, in a way that it is appropriate.”

It appears that the rescission package does not have enough votes to pass the House in its current form. As a result, the Administration is reportedly considering changes to the proposal, including altering or removing the rescission to Ebola funding. With Congress in recess for the Memorial Day holiday, the House is not expected to vote on the package until sometime in June.