December 22, 2010

International Affairs Budget Update, 12-22-10

House and Senate Pass Continuing Resolution to March

Yesterday, the House and Senate passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) extending funding for the federal government until March 4, and the President is expected to sign it early this morning. The House passed the measure last night by a vote of 193-165, and the Senate passed it by a vote of 79-16 earlier in the day.  The previous twice-extended CR expired at midnight Tuesday.

Under the new CR, the International Affairs Budget will be funded at a level of about $52.9 billion, 10% below the President’s request. This CR funds the International Affairs Budget a bit lower than the House passed year-long CR and nearly $3 billion less than the omnibus package that Senate Appropriations Chairmen Daniel Inouye (D-HI) was attempting to move through Congress. Unfortunately, Senator Inouye’s omnibus package was pulled from the floor due to Republican opposition over higher spending levels and earmarks. In addition, Senate Republicans opposed adopting the year-long CR passed by the House, favoring a shorter-term CR in order to have the opportunity to make cuts in the new Congress.

The CR’s expiration in March will give the 112th Congress an opportunity to determine the end of the FY11 appropriations process at the same time they are working on the FY2012 budget. House Republican leaders have talked about reducing discretionary accounts to FY08 levels, which would result in a cut of more than 30% to the International Affairs Budget relative to FY10 levels.