June 12, 2009

House Passes Two-Year State Department Authorization Bill; FY09 Supplemental to Provide $10 Billion in International Affairs Funding

For the first time since 2002, the House passed on June 10th by a solid margin of 235 to 187, H.R. 2410, a two-year State Department Authorization bill. Passage of this legislation represents a significant achievement for House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA-28). While the bill received overwhelming support among Democrats, only seven Republican Members broke ranks with their leadership and voted in support of final passage.

The House considered 27 amendments, 24 of which were adopted either by roll call or voice vote, while 3 were rejected. None of the amendments had a direct impact on funding levels authorized in the bill. While H.R. 2410 contains provisions on a wide range of foreign policy issues, a number deal with issues core to the USGLC’s mission relating to funding levels and capacity building. These include provisions to:

  • Authorize $18 billion in funding for the State Department for FY2010;
  • Authorize 1,500 additional Foreign Service Officers at the State Department;
  • Authorize 750 additional Foreign Service Offices at USAID; and
  • Require a Quadrennial Review of Diplomacy and Development to identify resources necessary to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives.

On June 11th, late in the night, House and Senate Conferees came to an agreement on a $106 billion FY09 Supplemental Appropriations bill. The measure includes $10.4 billion for the International Affairs Budget, $3.3 billion more than requested by the Administration. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the final bill early next week.