February 13, 2024

International Affairs Budget Update

Bipartisan Senate Majority Approves National Security Emergency Supplemental

Early this morning, the Senate approved a $95.34 billion national security emergency supplemental package on a bipartisan 70-29 vote – the culmination of nearly four months of intense negotiations since the Administration submitted its supplemental request to Congress last October.

The package appeared to be in jeopardy last week due to overwhelming Republican opposition to a bipartisan border security deal that had been attached to the supplemental. However, a path forward emerged after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) put forward a “clean” supplemental without the border security provisions at the end of last week.

Although nearly 200 amendments to the package were filed – including several that would have cut international affairs resources – ultimately, no agreement was reached among Senators to allow amendment votes.

Within the overall package, $26.8 billion (28%) is provided for the International Affairs Budget to support Ukraine and Israel, strengthen U.S. competitiveness with China in the Indo-Pacific, and bolster America’s response to unprecedented global humanitarian crises.

The USGLC released a statement applauding the Senate’s strong bipartisan vote and calling on the House to take swift action to approve “the full and comprehensive security, economic, and humanitarian package.”

Comparison to Administration Request

Generally, the Senate package aligns with the levels requested by the Administration in most major international affairs areas – including, importantly, for global humanitarian assistance. However, it is $8.6 billion (24%) below the Administration’s emergency international affairs request largely due to reductions in the following areas:

  • $4.5 billion reduction in economic assistance and $160 million reduction in security assistance to Ukraine
  • $1.75 billion reduction in multilateral assistance to provide developing countries with alternatives to Chinese financing
  • $1.3 billion reduction primarily for economic and humanitarian assistance for countries in the Western Hemisphere, which had been part of the border security deal
  • Does not include $1 billion for Food for Peace and $5 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program included in the Administration’s domestic emergency supplemental request 

Select Highlights from Senate Package

The $26.8 billion in international affairs emergency resources breaks down as follows:

  • Ukraine:Provides $11.5 billion to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, including $9.4 billion in economic assistance (of which $50 million is to respond to food insecurity) and $2 billion in security assistance.
  • Global Humanitarian Assistance: Provides $9.2 billion for disaster and refugee assistance to respond to escalating humanitarian crises including in Ukraine, Gaza and the West Bank, East Africa, and South Asia, among others.
  • Israel:Provides $3.6 billion in security assistance for Israel, including $3.5 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $85 million not included in the Administration’s request primarily for International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE).
  • Countering China Globally:Provides $2.3 billion to strengthen U.S. leadership and counter Chinese influence globally, including $2 billion in FMF for partners in the region and $250 million in multilateral economic assistance.
  • Diplomacy and Operations: Provides $324 million for U.S. diplomatic programs and other State Department and USAID operations in Israel, Ukraine, and elsewhere – an increase of about $10 million compared to the Administration’s request. 

Next Steps

While the Senate vote was an important bipartisan statement about the imperative of American leadership in the face of global crises, the supplemental faces an uncertain future in the House with Speaker Johnson essentially calling it dead on arrival due to the lack of border security and immigration policy provisions.

What happens next remains unclear, although there is talk about a potential discharge petition and splitting up or reshaping the bill, among the options. Ultimately, Speaker Johnson will have some tough decisions to make in the coming weeks. With the House scheduled to recess at the end of this week until February 28th and a deadline to reach agreement on FY24 spending bills and avoid a partial government shutdown fast approaching, any activity on the supplemental may not occur until March.