December 14, 2010

International Affairs Budget Update, 12-14-10

Senate Appropriations Chairman Moves Omnibus Package
FY11 International Affairs Budget $2.5 Billion Above House-Passed CR

Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) released his omnibus package today, just days before the spending stopgap measure is set to expire on Saturday, December 18.  The draft does not include a top-line spending figure, but Chairman Inouye has been trying to keep overall discretionary spending at the level proposed by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

For the International Affairs Budget, the omnibus provides approximately $55.7 billion ($53.5 billion for State-Foreign Operations).  While this is slightly lower than the Senate-passed appropriations earlier this year, the funding level is $2.5 billion above the year-long Continuing Resolution (CR) that was approved by the House last week.

The accounts that could receive significant increases compared to the House CR include:

  • State Operations (+$717 million, including +$581 million for Diplomatic and Consular Services)
  • Global Health (+$442 million)
  • Development Assistance (+$248 million, much of it for Feed the Future)
  • Economic Support Funds (+$439 million)
  • Multilateral Assistance: Global Environment Facility (+$57 million), Clean Technology and Strategic Climate Funds (+$145 million), Asian Development Fund (+$77 million), Multilateral Food Security Fund (+$115 million)

Chairman Inouye intends to offer the omnibus package as a substitute amendment to the House-passed CR.  He appears confident that the omnibus will have the 60 votes necessary to pass in the Senate, even though Republicans such as Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) are gearing up to oppose the bill.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hopes to pass the package by Saturday.  If the omnibus fails to pass, the Senate would likely take-up the House-passed CR.

Given the funding difference between the proposed omnibus and the House-passed CR for the International Affairs Budget, the USGLC has urged Senators to support the FY11 omnibus.  USGLC has always supported the highest number possible for the International Affairs Budget, which is currently in the omnibus package.  Key Republican votes include Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senators Bob Bennett (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Kit Bond (R-MO), George Voinovich (R-OH), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME).  In addition, Senators such as McCaskill, Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) will be key Democratic votes, as these Senators have tended to vote against omnibuses in the past.