House Appropriations Committee Approves FY20 State-Foreign Operations Bill

This week, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY20 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill, setting it up for a potential vote on the House floor this summer. As previously mentioned, the bill provides $56.4 billion for SFOPS split between $48.4 billion in base and $8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. This is a 4% ($2.2 billion) increase compared to the FY19 enacted level.

During the mark-up, Members offered 8 amendments on a variety of issues – including UN peacekeeping, climate change, the Mexico City Policy or Global Gag Rule. Three amendments were adopted by the full Committee:

  • A manager’s amendment offered by Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) to make technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report.Passed by voice vote.
  • An amendment offered by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) that would require, rather than recommend, the Administration spend $160 million to implement the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy. Passed by voice vote.
  • An amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) in support of conservation programs in Kenya. Passed by voice vote.

Select Highlights

The report accompanying the bill text includes strong language reaffirming Congressional support for development and diplomacy, noting that “The Committee believes that our national security is strongest when development, diplomacy, and defense are all well-funded and equally prioritized. The Committee contends that military power alone cannot solve all the problems confronting the world today and therefore, prioritizes diplomatic and development efforts critical to maintaining United States global leadership.”

Below are some additional details on program funding gleaned from the House SFOPS bill and just-released report.

Global Health

As we reported last week, the House bill increases funding for Global Health Programs compared to the FY19 enacted level – a stark contrast to the Administration’s FY20 budget request. A few areas to note:

  • Funding for bilateral HIV/AIDS programs is held flat at the FY19 enacted level of $330 million.
  • The U.S. contribution to the Global Fund is increased by 16% ($210 million) compared to the FY19 enacted level.
  • Funding for Polio eradication is held flat at the FY19 enacted level of $59 million.
  • Funding for international family planning is increased to $750 million and the bill would permanently repeal the Administration’s expanded Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule.

Global Health Funding

FY18 Final FY19 Enacted FY20 Request FY20 House
Bilateral PEPFAR $4.32 billion $4.32 billion $3.35 billion $4.37 billion
Global Fund $1.35 billion $1.35 billion $958 million $1.56 billion
USAID HIV/AIDS $330 million $330 million $0 $330 million
Malaria $755 million $755 million $674 million $755 million
Tuberculosis $261 million $302 million $261 million $310 million
Maternal/Child Health $830 million $835 million $620 million $850 million
Vulnerable Children $23 million $24 million $0 $24 million
Nutrition $125 million $145 million $79 million $145 million
Family Planning $608 million $608 million $237 million $750 million
NTDs $100 million $103 million $75 million $103 million
Global Health Security $73 million $100 million $90 million $100 million
Total $8.69 billion $8.84 billion $6.34 billion $9.3 billion

Economic and Development Assistance

As previously mentioned, the House bill rejects the Administration’s proposed consolidation of all State Department and USAID assistance currently provided through four separate accounts. Notably, the bill keeps flat or increases funding for most development assistance accounts, but reduces funding for the Economic Support Fund (ESF) by 41%.

Economic and Development Assistance Funding

FY18 Final FY19 Enacted FY20 Request FY20 House
Development Assistance (DA) $3.0 billion $3.0 billion $0 $4.17 billion
Economic Support Fund (ESF) $3.97 billion $3.72 billion $0 $2.18 billion
Economic Support and Development Fund (ESDF) $0 $0 $5.23 billion $0
Assistance to Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia (AEECA) $750 million $760 million $0 $770 million
Democracy Fund $216 million $227 million $0 $274 million
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) $905 million $905 million $800 million $905 million
Peace Corps $410 million $411 million $396 million $425 million
Total $9.3 billion $9 billion $6.4 billion $8.72 billion

Humanitarian Assistance

The House bill rejects the Administration’s proposal to consolidate the four existing humanitarian assistance accounts and slightly increases funding for humanitarian assistance programs compared to the FY19 enacted level.

Humanitarian Assistance Funding

FY18 Final FY19 Enacted FY20 Request FY20 House
Disaster Aid $4.29 billion $4.39 billion $0 $4.44 billion
Refugees (MRA) $3.36 billion $3.43 billion $365 million $3.53 billion
International Humanitarian Assistance (IHA) $0 $0 $5.97 billion $0
Emergency Refugees $1 million $1 million $0 $1 million
Total $7.65 billion $7.82 billion $6.33 billion $7.97 billion

Peacekeeping

Contributions to both UN peacekeeping and non-UN peacekeeping see an increase compared to the FY19 enacted level in the House bill. The bill also retroactively lifts the cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping operations for FY17 and FY18 and requires the State Department to pay down U.S. arrears within 45 days.

Peacekeeping Funding

FY18 Final FY19 Enacted FY20 Request FY20 House
UN Operations $1.38 billion $1.55 billion $1.14 billion $2.13 billion
Non-UN Ops $538 million $489 million $291 million $516 million
Total $1.92 billion $2.04 billion $1.43 billion $2.64 billion

International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

The House bill provides $166 billion for the new DFC – created by the bipartisan BUILD Act, which was enacted into law last year – to consolidate and modernize U.S. development finance capabilities. This is 45% ($134 million) below the Administration’s FY20 budget request. While the bill increases funding for the DFC’s administrative expenses, it reduces the level of equity funding provided for the new agency compared to the Administration’s request.

Oversight and Accountability

The bill includes a number of provisions intended to address Congressional concerns regarding Administration overreach when it comes to withholding of appropriated funds, “timely obligation and prudent expenditure” of foreign assistance resources, and foreign assistance reviews. These include:

  • Requires the State Department and USAID to submit a bi-monthly report to Congress on “any funds that are at risk of expiring before initial obligation, including the reasons why they have not been obligated.”
  • Includes stringent new language regarding the Administration’s ability to reprogram foreign assistance funding, including specific notification, reporting, and consultation requirements.

Central America

In response to the Administration’s recent decision to suspend all U.S. assistance to the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, the House bill includes strong language in support of continued investment in the region. For example:

  • Provides $541 million to implement the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America.
  • Requires the State Department to certify that the governments in the region are meeting specific benchmarks before 50% of funding can be obligated, with certain exceptions. Any funding that cannot be certified is required to be reprogrammed for assistance for other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Requires the State Department to review and update the plan for monitoring and evaluating assistance in support of the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America and send Congress a progress report by October 2020. Requires the State Department to consult with “relevant federal agencies, implementers, and other stakeholders” in developing the updated metrics.

What’s Next

With committee action complete, the House SFOPS bill is now primed for floor action – which could occur as early as next month. Of note, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent a letter outlining a number of concerns with the House SFOPS bill, including that the approved topline exceeds the Administration’s request.

The Senate Appropriations Committee could begin marking up FY20 spending bills in June, including the State-Foreign Operations bill. With just over four months remaining until the end of the fiscal year, Congress and the Administration will need to reach a bipartisan budget deal to raise discretionary spending caps in order to finalize FY20 spending and prevent a government shutdown. House and Senate leadership are scheduled to meet with Administration officials next week to kick off negotiations.