House Appropriators Approve 302(b) Allocations: Reject Dangerous Proposal to Slash International Affairs Budget

1. House Appropriators Approve 302(b) Allocations: Reject Dangerous Proposal to Slash International Affairs Budget

Marking the official kick-off of the FY20 appropriations cycle, this week the House Appropriations Committee approved topline spending levels, or 302(b) allocations, for all twelve FY20 spending bills – including for the State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill, which funds the vast majority of the International Affairs Budget.

Specifically, House Appropriators set out $56.4 billion for SFOPS, including $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 and is 32% ($13.7 billion) above the Administration’s FY20 budget request.

  • Notably, the $2.2 billion increase is provided in base funding (as opposed to OCO funding) – underscoring the commitment by Congress to incorporate funding increases into the regular budget for “enduring” programs.

State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Budget Snapshot

FY19 Enacted FY20 Request* FY20 House
Base $46.2 billion $42.7 billion $48.4 billion
OCO $8.0 billion $0.0 billion $8.0 billion
Total $54.2 billion $42.7 billion $56.4 billion

USGLC released a statement thanking House Appropriators for leveraging their power of the purse to once again reject the Administration’s dangerous proposals to slash our development and diplomacy tools.

As a reminder, without a budget deal in place, these topline spending levels are notional. It will be critical for bipartisan Members of Congress to reach an agreement as soon as possible that raises the non-defense discretionary spending cap to ensure strong funding for the International Affairs Budget in FY20.

2. House SFOPS Bill Introduced: Funding Reinstated for Key Development and Diplomacy Programs

This morning, the House State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee approved its FY20 SFOPS bill by voice vote. Across the board, the bill rejects the Administration’s proposed deep cuts to nearly all international affairs programs– restoring, and often increasing investments in these programs. We will share more details when the Appropriations Committee releases its report to accompany the spending bill (likely next week), but the bill text and committee summary provide some important detail on funding levels for specific programs and accounts.

Select Program Highlights

Development and Economic Assistance: The House bill rejects the Administration’s proposal to consolidate Development Assistance (DA) and the Economic Support Fund (ESF) into a new Economic Support and Development Fund (ESDF), but does propose shifting the ESF account into Title IV, International Security Assistance to reflect the “shorter-term, political and diplomatic objectives” of the ESF account. In terms of funding for these accounts, the bill increases Development Assistance by 39% ($1.17 billion) compared to the FY19 enacted level. At the same time, in addition to moving the ESF account, the bill proposes to cut its funding by 41% ($1.54 billion).

Security Assistance: As noted above, the bill moves the ESF account into the Security Assistance Title. For the remaining accounts that are traditionally funded under Security Assistance, such as Foreign Military Financing and International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, overall funding is cut by 1% ($119 million) compared to the FY19 enacted level.

Global Health: The House bill increases funding for Global Health Programs by 5% ($459 million) compared to the FY19 enacted level – a stark contrast to the Administration’s proposal to cut overall funding for these programs by 28% ($2.49 billion).

Humanitarian Assistance: The House bill provides $7.97 billion for humanitarian assistance, 2% ($150 million) above the FY19 enacted level. By contrast, the Administration proposes cutting humanitarian assistance provided through the SFOPS bill by 19% ($1.49 billion).

Peacekeeping: The bill rejects the Administration’s proposed deep cuts to international peacekeeping and includes $2.13 billion for UN Peacekeeping, a 37% ($577 million) increase compared to the FY19 enacted level and sufficient to pay off FY17 and FY18 arrears. It also increases non-UN peacekeeping contributions by 6% ($28 million).

Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC): The House maintains the FY19 enacted level of $905 million for the MCC, an increase of $105 million from the Administration’s FY20 budget request.

UN and Other International Organizations: Compared to the FY19 enacted level, the House bill increases funding for U.S. assessed contributions to the UN and other international organizations by 12% ($160 million) and nearly doubles funding for the International Organization and Programs (IO&P) account – which covers voluntary contributions – with an increase of 91% ($308 million).

International Financial Institutions (IFIs): The bill increases funding for U.S. contributions to the World Bank and other IFIs by 11% ($174 million) compared to the FY19 enacted level. It also removes the prohibition on contributions to the Green Climate Fund that was included in the final FY19 spending package.

Agencies Slated for Elimination: The House bill soundly rejects the Administration’s proposed elimination of five agencies.

  • East-West Center: The House bill maintains the FY19 enacted level of $17 million.
  • African Development Foundation: The House bill provides $30 million – equivalent to the FY19 enacted level.
  • Asia Foundation: The bill provides $19 million, a 12% ($2 million) increase compared to the FY19 enacted level.
  • Inter-American Foundation: The House bill includes $33 million, a 44% ($10 million) increase compared to the FY19 enacted level.
  • U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA): Notably, the House bill includes $75 million, a 6% ($5 million) decrease compared to the FY19 enacted level.

Other Notable Provisions: The House bill includes strong language focused on oversight, accountability, and impoundment – reflecting a bipartisan commitment to reinforcing Congress’s constitutional power of the purse.

  • It includes language that would extend the availability of expiring funds for 90 days if Congress receives a rescission proposal within 60 days of the end of the fiscal year and does not act on the proposal within that timeframe.
  • The bill includes language to restore State Department and USAID Civil Service and Foreign Service staffing to FY16 levels

Next Steps

The full House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up and approve the FY20 SFOPS bill next week. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) has indicated that she would like to see all twelve spending bills clear the House floor by the end of June. The Senate is much further behind the House and is unlikely to release its 302(b) allocations or its FY20 SFOPS bill until this summer. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) has said he would prefer for Congress to reach a budget deal before his committee begins marking up FY20 spending bills. All eyes are on House and Senate leadership who will need to quickly negotiate and pass a new spending agreement in order to keep the FY20 appropriations process on track and avoid another government shutdown.