April 24, 2009

Budget Process Moves Forward Next Week; Secretary Clinton Testifies Before Congress

House and Senate Budget Conferees are expected to meet the week of April 27th to finalize the details of the FY10 Concurrent Budget Resolution to work out differences in overall discretionary spending. The House resolution allocated $7 billion less than the Obama Administration’s $1.096 trillion request, while the Senate resolution provided $15 billion less than requested. As negotiations continue, it appears the overall discretionary cap may end up around $10 billion below the President’s request. As for the FY10 International Affairs Budget, the House approved $48.5 billion and the Senate approved $53.8 billion following enactment of the Kerry-Lugar Amendment restoring a $4 billion cut. The USGLC is working with our Congressional champions to urge Conferees to support the Senate-passed recommendation of $53.8 billion for the International Affairs Budget.

On April 22nd and April 23rd, Secretary Clinton testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the Administration’s foreign policy priorities and the House State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee in support of the Administration’s $7.1 billion FY09 International Affairs Budget Supplemental request. At both hearings, Secretary Clinton reiterated the Administration’s commitment to ensure that America has the “smart power” tools necessary to address the foreign policy challenges of the 21st century. During the hearing on the supplemental request, Secretary Clinton spoke about the importance of America’s International Affairs programs in addressing the global economic crisis, noting that some prominent development experts are predicting that nearly 50 million more people could end up living in poverty this year. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected to mark up the FY09 Emergency Supplemental request over the next several weeks with approval by both chambers expected prior to the Memorial Day recess on May 22nd.