April 25, 2017

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution; Significant Funding Increase for International Affairs

Before adjourning for the year, Congress is set to send to the President’s desk a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the government through April 28, 2017 and provide a significant increase for the International Affairs Budget.

The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 326-96 yesterday and is expected to pass the Senate soon, includes $1.07 trillion in total discretionary spending. For the International Affairs Budget, the CR includes $39.6 billion in base funding. This is slightly below current levels, as the result of a 0.19% across-the-board cut needed to align funding levels with the spending caps.

Importantly, the proposal includes a significant increase ($4.3 billion) for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for international affairs, raising total OCO funding for the State Department and USAID to $19.2 billion. As USGLC reported earlier this fall, the Administration requested an additional $5.8 billion to counter ISIS and support humanitarian programs in the Middle East (see below for specifics). So while Congress approved less than the Administration’s request, the additional funding nonetheless provides a significant and much needed boost in funding for these important programs.

Altogether, the new CR provides a total of $58.8 billion for the International Affairs Budget, an increase of $4.2 billion (8%) above FY16 levels.

International Affairs Budget Snapshot

FY16 Enacted FY17 Request FY17 House FY17 Senate FY17 CR
Base $39.7 billion $39.4 billion $39.1 billion $39.2 billion $39.6 billion
OCO $14.9 billion $20.7 billion* $14.9 billion $14.9 billion $19.2 billion*
Total $54.6 billion $60.1 billion $54.0 billion $54.1 billion $58.8 billion

*Reflects the additional $5.8 billion requested in November, and the $4.3 billion provided in the CR.

As mentioned above, the additional $4.3 billion in State/USAID funding includes funding for programs aimed at countering ISIS, providing humanitarian relief, and support for programs in the Middle East. Specifically, the funding includes:

  • $1.7 billion for Embassy Security and Diplomatic Operations: This funding, which is close to the level requested, would be used to improve security and support diplomatic and USAID personnel.
  • $1.2 billion for Economic and Stabilization Assistance: Intended primarily to help stabilize countries in the Middle East region, this funding level is significantly below the Administration’s $2.5 billion request. It also includes some economic assistance to help countries threatened by Russia.
  • $916 million for Humanitarian Assistance: Funding in this category, which is about $300 million below the Administration’s request, is focused on addressing the crisis caused by the growing numbers of displaced persons and refuges in the region.
  • $404 million for Security Assistance: This includes funding for counterterrorism programs to help U.S. allies in the Middle East, as well as security assistance to Ukraine and other countries resisting Russian aggression.

Next Steps

The Senate is expected to approve the CR soon, and once passed no more legislative action is expected this year.

USGLC salutes our partners and Members of Congress for a remarkable year that included passage of eight significant pieces of bipartisan legislation that advance our interests and strengthen U.S. foreign assistance programs, including the:

  • African Growth and Opportunity Act;
  • Water for the World Act;
  • Girls Count Act;
  • Electrify Africa Act;
  • Global Food Security Act;
  • Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act;
  • E.N.D. Wildlife Trafficking Act; and
  • End Modern Slavery Initiative Act.

The 115th Congress will be sworn in on January 3, 2017.