On Thursday, May 15, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked-up its version of the combined FY08 and FY09 Supplemental bill. The House is expected to forgo a formal committee mark-up and refer the funding package directly to the House floor for debate. The House bill is expected to provide $183.3 billion in funding primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Senate bill could be higher. Included in the bill is $9.9 billion in supplemental funding – $5.9 billion for FY08 and $4.0 billion for FY09 – for the International Affairs Budget, $1.1 billion less than requested by the Administration. Approximately 50 percent of the funding is for State Department and USAID operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure also includes $1.245 billion for emergency food aid ($850 million for FY08 and $395 million for FY09), $500 million more than requested by the Administration.
On May 8, Senators Joseph Biden (D-DE), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Sununu (R-NH), Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Norm Coleman (R-MN) sent a letter to Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) urging them to support the full $39.8 billion for the FY09 International Affairs Budget 302(b) allocation, as approved in the Senate Budget Resolution. In the letter, the Senators noted, “Seventy-three senators voted for an amendment that restored the International Affairs Budget to the level requested by the President. This was the most significant shift in spending priorities agreed on by the Senate during debate on the budget resolution, and its adoption was broadly bipartisan.”
Senate 302(b) Letter