May 27, 2011
The House Appropriations Committee approved the all-important 302(b) allocations for FY12 by a vote of 27-21 on Tuesday. The allocations are based on the $1.019 trillion discretionary cap included in the House-passed FY12 budget resolution, $30.4 billion below current levels.
There was no discussion of the State-Foreign Operations allocation during committee debate. The $47.2 billion allocation for State-Foreign Operations, which fully funds the war-related components of the International Affairs Budget, is higher than the deep and disproportionate 18% cut contained in the House FY12 budget resolution. However, USGLC remains very concerned that the allocation results in deep cuts for non-war related programs, representing nearly a 20% reduction from FY10 levels. Action on the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill is last in line, with the Subcommittee markup not scheduled until July 27, followed by full committee action on August 3.
During debate, the committee rejected by voice vote an amendment offered by Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – the only Republican to vote against approving the allocations – to reduce the total discretionary level by an additional $41 billion. His amendment was based on the $978 billion spending cap included in the Republican Study Committee’s budget.
The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), also released this week its Chairman’s Mark, including two international agriculture programs in the International Affairs Budget. The PL 480/Food for Peace program was funded at a level of $1.04 billion (a 30.5% reduction from FY11 levels) and the McGovern-Dole program received $180 million (a 9.5% cut from FY11 levels).
International Affairs Budget Snapshot
House Budget Resolution
|$56.6 b||$50.1 b||$53.0 b
($61.7 with OCO)
|$41.0 b||$49.1 b*
($47.2 b State-For Ops)
*Moves $1.1 billion for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) to Defense Appropriations. The PCCF is part of the FY12 OCO Request and the FY12 Budget Resolution.
2. Budget Proposals Fail in the Senate; Biden Talks Continue
In the Senate, Republicans have been critical of Democrats’ reluctance to offer an FY12 budget resolution. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) argued this week that a bipartisan budget agreement was more important, and that he was prepared to wait a few more weeks before moving forward. Chairman Conrad had previously placed his hopes on the “Gang of Six” to deliver a budget framework, but with the departure of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), momentum appears to have been lost.
The Senate, which is on recess next week, failed to pass four budget proposals on Wednesday, indicating that Republicans and Democrats still have much work to do on reaching agreement on FY12 spending levels as well as a long-term spending deal:
The bicameral, high-level budget working group led by Vice President Biden met again on Thursday, although little progress has been made. Vice President Biden has set a goal of reaching agreement on $1 trillion in savings. In lieu of a Senate budget resolution, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is looking to the group to possibly set spending caps for the next couple of years in order to move forward with the appropriations process.
3. House Passes Amendment to Repeal USIP Act
During consideration of the FY12 Defense Authorization bill yesterday, the House passed, by a vote of 226-194, an amendment offered by Representative Chip Cravaack (R-MN) to de-authorize the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). The amendment passed, though with less support than an amendment which passed earlier this year to defund USIP. Eighteen Republicans opposed the amendment, including Representatives Kay Granger (R-TX), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, and Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the Budget Committee. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, supported the amendment and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) voted present. The Senate still has to consider its FY12 defense authorization bill, and this amendment would have to make it all the way through conference negotiations for it to be enacted.