March 6, 2020
As the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly around the world, this week Congress overwhelmingly approved $8.3 billion in FY20 emergency supplemental funding for a comprehensive, whole-of-government response to this growing global health threat. The President signed the measure into law this morning. USGLC President and CEO Liz Schrayer released a statement commending bipartisan Congressional leaders for committing essential resources for the State Department and USAID to address the global fight.
It is important to note that this funding is not subject to discretionary spending caps for FY20 because Congress designated it as “emergency” resource needs.
International Affairs Funding
While the original emergency supplemental funding request from the Administration included no international funding, bipartisan Congressional leadership added $1.25 billion for the State Department and USAID to support the global response to the coronavirus. This represents 15% of the total funding.
The supplemental includes several other important provisions, including:
During floor consideration of the coronavirus supplemental in the Senate, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered an amendment to offset the cost of the emergency funding bill by canceling – or rescinding – FY20 unobligated funds for the International Affairs Budget. If enacted, this would have cut overall funding for America’s development and diplomacy programs by 15%.
Chairman of the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), moved to table – or set aside – Senator Paul’s amendment.
Thanks to a rapid mobilization by USGLC, our coalition partners, and the leadership of Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Pat Leahy (D-VT), the vote on the motion to table – in which a “yes” vote constituted opposition to the Paul amendment – passed with a strong bipartisan vote of 81-15. Senators who voted ‘no’ on the motion to table included Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Rand Paul (R-KY), David Perdue (R-GA), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
USGLC President and CEO Liz Schrayer released a statement applauding the bipartisan rejection of the Paul amendment while also expressing concern that “in the midst of the global coronavirus outbreak we would even question the need for America to engage in the world.” USGLC is grateful for the swift action from our members and partners that helped create the momentum for a sound defeat of the Paul amendment.