April 2, 2012

International Affairs Budget Update, 3-30-12

1.    House Passes FY13 Budget Resolution

Yesterday the House passed the House Budget Committee’s FY13 Budget Resolution largely along partisan lines by a vote of 228-191.  Ten Republicans voted against the measure, which cuts total discretionary spending by $15 billion from FY12 levels and includes an 11% cut to the International Affairs Budget. The budget resolution’s $49.1 billion allocation for the International Affairs Budget is not a binding number, however.  Therefore, in the next few weeks the House Appropriations Committee will set the funding allocation – 302(b) – for the International Affairs Budget (see below for further details on the appropriations schedule).

During House debate on the FY13 Budget Resolution, six other budget alternative proposals were voted on but were defeated:

  • House Democrats, which fully funded the President’s International Affairs Budget request ($56.2 billion); REJECTED by a vote of 163-262.
  • Republican Study Committee, which capped FY13 discretionary spending at $931 billion, $116 billion lower than the cap agreed to in last year’s Budget Control Act and $97 billion lower than Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s FY13 Budget Resolution; REJECTED by a vote of 136-285.
  • Bipartisan Alternative, sponsored by Reps. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Steve LaTourette (R-OH), based on the 2010 Simpson-Bowles Commission’s work; REJECTED 38-382.
  • Mulvaney Alternative, sponsored by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), partially based on the President’s budget request; REJECTED 0-414.
  • Congressional Black Caucus, which increased funding for the International Affairs Budget above the President’s request; REJECTED by a vote of 107-314.
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus, which also increased funding for the International Affairs Budget; REJECTED by a vote of 78-346.

USGLC sent a letter to the House late last week opposing the deep and disproportionate cuts to the International Affairs Budget in the FY13 Budget Resolution. USGLC’s Co-Presidents Bill Lane (Caterpillar) and George Rupp (International Rescue Committee) wrote, “Now is not the time to retreat in support of programs that protect America’s national security and create conditions for growth and prosperity at home.”

2. Military Leaders Urge Support for International Affairs Budget

Earlier this week, more than 80 retired three and four-star Admirals and Generals from the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) sent a letter to Congress saying “We urge you to support a strong FY13 International Affairs Budget and to oppose disproportionate cuts to this vital account.”  NSAC Co-Chairs Gen. Mike Hagee and Adm. Jim Loy also penned an opinion editorial in Politico to highlight the letter and say, “Even as our policy leaders work to put our fiscal house in order, we cannot leave this vital investment out in the cold.”  On Wednesday a group of Admirals and Generals from NSAC went to the Hill to urge Members to support fully funding the FY13 International Affairs Budget and to oppose additional disproportionate cuts to this vital account.

3. Next Steps on FY13 Budget and Appropriations

With the House’s passage of the FY13 Budget Resolution and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad’s (D-ND) recent release of his budget deeming resolution, appropriators will now move quickly to set subcommittee allocations, which are expected to be officially announced after the April Recess.  Chairman Conrad’s top line discretionary cap of $1.047 trillion adheres to the cap in the last year’s Budget Control Act, so there will be significant differences in the 302(b) allocations in each chamber.

Once the 302(b) allocations are released, appropriators will quickly move to mark up their spending bills.  House leaders have indicated their intention to move all twelve appropriations bills through the House by late July.  The Senate is also expected to move bills through the Committee, but fewer are likely to see Floor action.