July 19, 2013

International Affairs Budget Update, 7-19-13

This morning the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved its FY14 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill by voice vote, with no amendments offered. The $40.6 billion measure, comprised of $34.1 billion in base funding and $6.5 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds, imposes draconian reductions to many accounts.

The Subcommittee faced the difficult task of writing a bill with an appropriations allocation 19% below current levels and the Administration’s request.  The result is a bill that prioritizes security assistance and some global health programs but imposes deep cuts to many development and multilateral accounts.

In yesterday’s release of the bill, Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) stated, “Faced with billions of dollars in spending cuts, this bill focuses on national security programs that keep the United States and our allies secure, while anticipating continued change around the world.”  Full Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the bill makes “hard choices, maintaining critical missions, diplomatic efforts, and the safety and security of Americans abroad, while cutting lower-priority programs or those that we simply cannot afford at this time.”  Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY) expressed her concerns about the bill, saying, “While Chairwoman Granger really did the best she could, the bill we have before us today represents a greater than 20% reduction from the Fiscal Year 2013 pre-sequestration level in a bill that is only 1% of the federal budget.”

In terms of the details of the bill, most accounts were cut compared to current FY13 sequestered levels, but some programs avoided more severe cuts.  The bill fulfills the Administration’s $8.5 billion request for international security assistance, as well as the $4.3 billion request for embassy securityGlobal Health programs are funded at $8.2 billion, a slight increase compared to current levels, while the Peace Corps is flat-funded.  As expected, the bill provides $1.3 billion for Foreign Military Financing to Egypt, but withholds the funding until the State Department verifies Egypt is meeting requirements for a democratic transition.

In contrast, multilateral assistance received a 61% ($1.8 billion) cut compared to current levels and many international organizations received zero funding, including:

  • International Organizations and Programs (IO&P), voluntary contributions to UN bodies and international organizations;
  • The Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund (MENA-IF);
  • Inter-American Development Bank;
  • African Development Bank;
  • Global Environmental Facility;
  • The World Bank’s International Bank of Reconstruction and Development; and
  • Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, the multilateral arm of the Feed the Future initiative.

A number of other accounts receive significant reductions, some by as much as half or more, including:

  • U.S. Institute of Peace, cut 70%;
  • Contributions to International Organizations (CIO), cut 50%;
  • Economic Support Fund (ESF), cut 47%;
  • International Disaster Assistance (IDA), cut 40%;
  • Development Assistance (DA), cut 26%;
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), cut 18%;
  • State Department Operations, cut 15%; and
  • USAID Operating Expenses, cut 7%.

Among the policy provisions in the bill, funding is denied for many UN programs, including the UN Education, Science, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and restricts funding for the Human Rights Council or implementing the UN Arms Trade Treaty.  The bill also provides specific funding recommendations for development initiatives, including:

  • $800 million for basic education;
  • $315 million for water and sanitation;
  • $265 million for microenterprise;
  • $200 million for conservation and biodiversity; and
  • caps funding for family planning and reproductive health at $461 million.

USGLC issued a statement from our National Security Advisory Committee Co-Chairs General Michael Hagee, USMC (Ret.) and Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret.) saying that “the dramatic and disproportionate cuts to this year’s foreign assistance bill in the House is of grave concern” and pointing out the risks associated with these choices. We will provide a more detailed analysis of the bill early next week.

Next Steps

The full Appropriations Committee will take up the bill next Wednesday, July 24th at 10:00 a.m.  The Senate State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its bill – which is $10 billion higher than the House bill – on Tuesday morning, with full Committee taking it up later in the week.  Neither measure is expected to be acted on by the full House or Senate.