April 25, 2012

International Affairs Budget Update, 4-25-12

Following Senate action last week, the House Appropriations Committee yesterday released its 302(b) allocations for FY13.  The allocations – to be approved by the Committee this afternoon – divide up the $1.028 trillion discretionary spending cap for FY13, which is based on the House Budget Resolution passed last month and is $19 billion below the Senate top-line spending number.

The Committee provides $48.3 billion for the State-Foreign Operations allocation $40.1 billion in base funding and $8.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.  The total funding level (base plus OCO) in the House allocation is a concerning $5 billion (-9%) below the Senate’s $53 billion total funding.

Particularly troubling is that State-Foreign Operations received a disproportionately deep 9.4% cut relative to other security accounts (Defense and Homeland Security were each cut between 4% and 5%, respectively, including OCO funding).  Looking at all discretionary accounts, only one – Transportation-HUD – received a larger cut (9.9%) from current spending than State-Foreign Operations.

What is particularly important about the State-Foreign Operations allocation is the different way House and Senate appropriators use the OCO account.  The Senate shifted nearly $5 billion from OCO (war-related funding) back to base funding.  The result of this shift, coupled with the lower overall funding levels, yields a large gap – $9.7 billion (19.5%) – between the House and Senate’s base funding levels.

USGLC issued a press release today in opposition of the House’s funding cut and calling on Congress to support no less than the Senate allocation for the State-Foreign Operations bill.

State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Snapshot*

FY12 Enacted

FY13 Request

FY13 Senate 302(b)

FY13 House 302(b)

($42.1b Base,
$11.2b OCO)

($46.5b Base,
$8.2b OCO)

($49.8b Base,
$3.2b OCO)

($40.1b Base,
$8.2b OCO)

*95% of the International Affairs Budget is included in the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The remaining 5% includes international food aid programs in the Agriculture Appropriations bill and miscellaneous commissions in the Commerce-Justice-Science bill. A small amount of funding is provided in the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for non-International Affairs programs.

Next Steps 

The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee is set to mark up the FY13 appropriations bill the week of May 7th, with full Committee markup following shortly thereafter.  The bill could come to the floor as early as mid-June, where non-war related programs would be very susceptible to further deep cuts, but the schedule is still in flux.  The Senate schedule is yet to be determined.