February 16, 2011

International Affairs Budget Update, 2-16-11

House Debates FY11 Appropriations
Deep Cuts and Amendments for International Affairs Budget

This Week’s House Floor Action

Debate on H.R. 1 – the House’s new Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY 2011 – began yesterday and is expected to continue for the remainder of the week, with the goal of finishing the bill by Thursday evening in order to adjourn for the President’s Day recess.  Consideration of the bulk of the International Affairs Budget, the State-Foreign Operations appropriations section of the bill, will occur toward the very end of the debate because amendments to the bill are being considered in sequential order by title.  State-Foreign Operations is the next to last title of the bill.

Under the bill’s “open” rule for debate, more than 400 cutting amendments have been offered.  It’s important to note that the bill includes a spending reduction account, aka “deficit reduction lockbox,” meaning that if an amendment passes that reduces funding within any of the individual appropriations titles, the savings will go into the lockbox and cannot be reallocated to any other accounts elsewhere in the bill.

A few dozen amendments to cut additional monies from International Affairs programs have been filed.  As of press time, the list of cutting amendments that may be offered during floor debate are as follows:

Amendments to Cut International Affairs Budgets

  • Akin (R-MO) amendment to eliminate funding for the Global Environment Facility
  • Barletta (R-PA) amendments to eliminate funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Broun (R-GA) amendment to prohibit payments of all assessed dues to the United Nations
  • Canseco (R-TX) amendment to eliminate all East-West Center funding
  • Cravaack (R-NM) amendment to eliminate funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Flake (R-AZ) amendment to prohibit funds to Radio/TV Marti
  • Flake (R-AZ) amendment to eliminate all funding for OPIC
  • Flake (R-AZ) amendment to cut voluntary United Nations contributions by $100 million
  • Gohmert (R-TX) amendment to issue a prohibition on assistance to countries that oppose the positon of the U.S. in the United Nations
  • Heller (R-NV) amendment to cut funds for United Nations voluntary contributions and IFIs
  • Huelskamp (R-KS) amendment to prohibit funds for Special Envoy for closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay
  • Latta (R-OH) amendment to eliminate all funds for international family planning
  • Luetkemeyer (R-MO) amendment to prohibit funds to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • McClintock (R-CA) amendments to eliminate funding for the NED, African Development Foundation, East-West Center, Inter-American Foundation, to cut debt restructuring, and to prohibit funding for the Tropical Forest Conservation Act
  • McCollum (D-MN) amendment to prohibit funds to Radio/TV Marti
  • Paul (R-TX) amendment to strike International Security Assistance to Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Israel
  • Pearce (R-NM) amendment to eliminate all funding for Broadcasting Board of Governors
  • Poe (R-TX) amendment to prohibit all aid to Russia except security and democracy/human rights
  • Poe (R-TX) amendment to prohibit all aid to China except rule of law/human rights
  • Reed (R-NY)/Graves (R-GA) amendment to eliminate funding for the State Department Democracy Fund
  • Royce (R-CA) amendment to eliminate funding for East-West Center
  • Royce (R-CA) amendment to cut USIP by $17 million
  • Scalise (R-LA) amendment to prohibit funding for the salary and expenses of the Special Envoy for Climate Change
  • Stearns (R-FL) amendment to prohibit funds for UN HQ construction/renovation
  • Weiner (D-NY) amendment to prohibit all aid to Saudi Arabia including NADR

Amendments to Cut Appropriations Across the Board

  • Campbell (R-CA) amendment to reduce the bill by $16 billion, excluding DOD, Veterans and Homeland Security
  • Flores (R-TX) amendment to limit funds appropriated to the President during FY2011 to FY2008 levels
  • Jordan (R-OH) amendment to reduce most spending accounts by 5.5%, excluding some programs (including Israel)
  • Mulvaney (R-SC) amendments to reduce non-security accounts back to FY2006 levels
  • Pearce (R-NM) amendment to prohibit the obligation or expending of funds under the bill in excess of the amount authorized or appropriated
  • Tipton (R-CO) amendment to reduce all non-security accounts by 1%

Urgent Action Needed

There will likely not be time for the House to consider all of these cutting amendments, but there is a high likelihood that several of them will be adopted. Collectively, they represent a serious threat to the International Affairs Budget, both in terms of the remainder of FY2011 and in laying the groundwork for debate on FY2012 funding levels later this year.

Even without additional cutting amendments, H.R. 1 makes deep cuts to development and diplomacy programs. The bill provides $46 billion for the International Affairs Budget, a 19% cut from the FY2010 level (and 13% less than the current CR).  Among the House Appropriations Committee’s cuts compared with FY2010 levels are the following:

  • Humanitarian aid:                            – 42%
  • Multilateral assistance:                  – 40%
  • Development Assistance:              – 30% (significantly affecting the Feed the Future Initiative)
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation: – 29%
  • Global Health:                                    – 11%
  • International Peacekeeping:       – 11%
  • Economic Support Fund:              – 9% (account that provides resources to Frontline states)

This dramatic reduction in resources would weaken many of the important bipartisan achievements made over the past several years to strengthen our non-military tools of development and diplomacy.

USGLC is urging all House Members to oppose the underlying cuts to the International Affairs Budget contained in H.R. 1 and the additional cutting amendments. Please be on the lookout for our Action Alert highlighting the urgent mobilization needed.