April 6, 2011

International Affairs Budget Update, 4-5-11

1.    House Budget Committee Mark Cuts International Affairs Budget by 27%

This morning, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his FY 2012 budget resolution, which includes deep and disproportionate cuts to the International Affairs Budget as part of its overall $6 trillion in spending reductions over the next decade.  The resolution provides a total of $41 billion for the International Affairs Budget for FY12, a 27% cut from the total FY10 enacted level of $56.4 billion.  Although representing less than one-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of America’s GDP, this cut will not effectively reduce our deficit but will clearly diminish U.S. global engagement and competitiveness.

While the House Budget resolution fully funds the President’s request level of $8.7 billion for the State Department and USAID’s Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the overall cuts to the International Affairs Budget are stark compared to other security-related accounts (Defense, Veterans, and Homeland Security).  Funding levels for these other security accounts remain largely untouched (flat-funded) in the House Budget resolution.

FY12 House Budget Resolution:
International Affairs Budget Snapshot

Core Funding Level: $32.3 billion
OCO Funding Level: $8.7 billion

The USGLC released a strong statement this afternoon expressing grave concerns with the deep cuts unveiled by the House.  “Congress needs to understand the price paid in inadequate diplomatic and developmental efforts is usually measured in the lives of soldiers and sailors,” said Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret.), co-chair of the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council.  “While I am grateful our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq are fully funded, we live in a very dangerous world with many other hot spots that could go unaddressed and become tomorrow’s Afghanistan with all the horrors that portends.”

The House Budget Committee’s funding levels, if ultimately adopted, would have a devastating impact on U.S. development and diplomacy capabilities and return funding to pre-2008 levels. The deep cuts ignore the calls from military, business, and development leaders to support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.  Just last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 70 retired three- and four-star Admirals and Generals with USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council urged Congress to oppose deep and disproportionate cuts.

The House will take up the Budget Resolution next week, and additional cuts to the International Affairs Budget are possible during floor consideration.  USGLC members are urged to mobilize their networks to contact their Representatives and voice strong opposition to these deep cuts for FY12.  Look for an Action Alert from USGLC tomorrow.

2.    FY11 Funding Remains Uncertain: House GOP Proposes Additional Cuts for FY11, Including $830 million to International Affairs Budget

With the latest FY11 Continuing Resolution (CR) set to expire on Friday and a government shutdown looming large, negotiations on FY11 funding levels are continuing.  Last night House Republicans proposed a week-long CR extension that would fund the government for one more week and cut an additional $12 billion in spending, including about $830 million from the International Affairs Budget.  These cuts include $212 million from international financial institutions, $466 million from various foreign assistance accounts (including Development Assistance and Economic Support Funds), and $237 million from United Nations and peacekeeping activities.  The House proposal would fully fund the Department of Defense for the remainder of the year.

The Administration has rejected the House Republican offer and a meeting this morning at the White House with the President and Congressional leaders yielded no signs of progress.  Time is rapidly running out to avert a government shutdown beginning this Saturday.

Stay tuned for updates from USGLC this week on this rapidly evolving situation.