December 10, 2009

FY10 International Affairs Budget in Home Stretch; Record-Breaking Signatures on FY11 Congressional Letter

House and Senate negotiators met on Tuesday, December 8th,  to finalize the details of a $446.8 billion FY10 Omnibus Appropriations measure, which would complete the FY10 International Affairs Budget.  The measure includes the $48.76 billion FY10 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. When combined with the $1.9 billion in international food aid in the Agriculture bill, already signed into law, and the $300 million transfer to the Global Fund in the Labor-HHS bill, the International Affairs Budget will be funded at $51 billion, $1.7 billion or 3.2 percent below present spending, and $2.9 billion or 5.4 percent below the Administration’s request. The Omnibus package passed the House on Thursday, December 10th, by a vote of 221-201. The Senate is expected to begin consideration of the bill on Friday, December 11th, with a vote possible this weekend.

Summary of the FY10 State, Foreign Ops Bill

The FY10 State, Foreign Ops bill is $1.2 billion or 2.4 percent below current spending, including all supplemental funding, and $3.2 billion or 6.2 percent below the President’s request. The bill includes funding to increase personnel by up to 700 new State Department Foreign Services Officers (FSOs) and 300 USAID FSOs, aid to Afghanistan ($2.6 billion), Pakistan ($1.46 billion), and Iraq ($467 million), and funding for several of the President’s new Global Initiatives, including Food Security and Agriculture Development, Basic Education, and Global Health.

Record-Breaking Signatures on FY11 Congressional Letter

This week a record-breaking 247 Members of Congress – a solid majority of 58 Senators and 189 Representatives – delivered their respective letters to the President in support of a robust FY11 International Affairs Budget request. The House and Senate letters send a strong, bipartisan message to the Administration about the importance of continued investments in the smart power tools of development and diplomacy.

The FY11 letters galvanized support in Congress across partisan and ideological spectrums – from Blue Dogs and Freshmen Republicans to the Congressional Black, Hispanic and Progressive Caucuses. In addition, Freshman Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Aaron Schock (R-IL) authored an opinion editorial on Monday in Roll Call highlighting their reasons for championing on the letter.