July 10, 2020

House Appropriations Committee Approves FY21 State-Foreign Operations Bill

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY21 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill on a party-line vote (29-21) following approval at the subcommittee level earlier this week. As previously mentioned, the bill is funded at $65.9 billion, including $55.9 billion in non-emergency discretionary funding plus an additional $10 billion in emergency funding for the COVID-19 response.

Adding in funding for international food aid and international programs from the Agriculture and Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bills, non-emergency funding provided by House Appropriators for the FY21 International Affairs Budget totals $57.8 billion – a 2.2% ($1.2 billion) increase compared to the FY20 enacted level.

International Affairs Budget Snapshot

FY20 Enacted FY21 Request* FY21 House
Base $48.6 billion $44.7 billion $49.8 billion
OCO $8.0 billion $0 $8.0 billion
Total 56.6 billion $44.7 billion $57.8 billion
Total $2.7 billion $0 $10 billion
Total $59.3 billion $44.7 billion $67.8 billion

*Reflects CBO re-estimate of the request

During the SFOPS mark-up, some Republicans expressed concern about the inclusion of emergency funding in FY21 spending bills – including the $10 billion for COVID-19 response in the SFOPS bill – because it would allow appropriations levels to exceed the spending limits agreed to by Congress and the Administration in last summer’s budget deal. Additionally, Members offered six amendments on a variety of issues – including the UN and World Health Organization, international family planning, and climate change. Three amendments were adopted by the full Committee:

  • A manager’s amendment offered by Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) to make technical and non-controversial changes to the bill and report. Passed by voice vote.
  • An amendment offered by Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) that would restore millions in U.S. development and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. Passed by voice vote.
  • An amendment offered by Ranking Member Hal Rogers (R-KY) to rename funds made available for international basic education as the “Nita M. Lowey Basic Education Fund” in honor of Chairwoman Lowey. Passed by voice vote.

Select Highlights
Below are some additional details on non-emergency funding and provisions included in the House SFOPS bill and report. Details on the emergency COVID-19 funding included in the SFOPS bill can be found here.

Global Health
As we reported earlier this week, the House bill provides a slight increase in funding for Global Health Programs compared to the FY20 enacted level – a stark contrast to deep cuts proposed in the Administration’s budget request. A few areas to note:

  • Funding for several global health programs is held flat at FY20 enacted levels. Of note, some of these programs also receive additional emergency COVID-19 funding.
    • Bilateral HIV/AIDS Programs
    • U.S. Contributions to the Global Fund
    • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
    • Polio Eradication
  • Funding for international family planning is increased to $816 million and the bill would permanently repeal the Administration’s expanded Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule.
  • Provides $119 million for assessed contributions and $200 million for grants and voluntary contributions directly to the World Health Organization, the first time an appropriations bill has designated specific funding for the organization.

Global Health Funding

FY19 Enacted FY20 Enacted FY21 Request FY21 House
Bilateral PEPFAR $4.37 billion $4.37 billion $3.18 billion $4.37 billion
Global Fund $1.35 billion $1.56 billion $658 million $1.56 billion
USAID HIV/AIDS $330 million $330 million $0 $330 million
Malaria $755 million $770 million $709 million $755 million
Tuberculosis $302 million $310 million $275 million $310 million
Maternal/Child Health $835 million $851 million $660 million $850 million
Vulnerable Children $24 million $25 million $0 $24 million
Nutrition $145 million $150 million $90 million $145 million
Family Planning $608 million $608 million $237 million $816 million
NTDs $103 million $103 million $75 million $103 million
Global Health Security $100 million $100 million $115 million $125 million
Total $8.84 billion $9.09 billion $6.0 billion $9.16 billion

Economic and Development Assistance
For the fourth year in a row, the House bill rejects the Administration’s proposed consolidation of State Department and USAID assistance provided through four separate accounts. It also provides generous increases for Development Assistance, the Economic Support Fund, and the Democracy Fund by 12%, 10%, and 18% respectively, compared to the FY20 enacted level.

Economic and Development Assistance Funding

FY19 Enacted FY20 Enacted FY21 Request FY21 House
Economic Support and Development Fund (ESDF) $0 $0 $5.93 billion $0
Development Assistance (DA) $3 billion $3.4 billion $0 billion $3.8 billion
Economic Support Fund (ESF) $3.72 billion $3.05 billion $0 billion $3.44 billion
AEECA $760 million $770 million $0 billion $770 million
Democracy Fund $227 million $274 million $0 billion $324 million
MCC $905 million $905 million $800 million $905 million
Peace Corps $411 million $411 million $401 million $411 million

Humanitarian Assistance
Rejecting the Administration’s proposal to consolidate three existing humanitarian assistance accounts for the second year in a row, the House bill holds overall funding for these programs flat at the FY20 enacted level.

Humanitarian Assistance Funding

FY19 Enacted FY20 Enacted FY21 Request FY21 House
Int’l Humanitarian Assist (IHA) $0 $0 $5.97 billion $0
Disaster Assistance (IDA) $4.39 billion $4.4 billion $0/ $4.4 billion
Refugees (MRA) $3.43 billion $3.43 billion $299 million $3.43 billion
Emergency Refugees (ERMA) $1 million $100,000 $0 $100,000
Total $7.82 billion $7.83 billion $6.27 billion $7.83 billion

While the House bill reduces funding for UN Peacekeeping by 5% ($70 million), it maintains funding for non-UN peacekeeping programs at the FY20 enacted level. Notably, the bill lifts the statutory cap of 25% on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping to help limit the accumulation of additional arrears, although this funding level would not be sufficient to pay down U.S. FY21 obligations or the $1 billion in arrears the U.S. has accrued since FY17.

Peacekeeping Funding

FY19 Enacted FY20 Enacted FY21 Request FY21 House
UN Operations (CIPA) $1.55 billion $1.53 billion $1.08 billion $1.46 billion
Non-UN Ops (PKO) $489 million $457 million $290 million $457 million
Total $2.04 billion $1.98 billion $1.37 billion $1.91 billion

International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)
The House bill includes $313 million for the DFC and provides increased flexibility to the DFC in allocating funds across authorized activities. While the bill does not consolidate funding for equity financing, technical assistance, and credit subsidy as requested by the Administration, funding for the DFC is 4% ($12 million) higher than the FY20 enacted level.

Oversight and Accountability
As in previous years, the bill includes language and provisions intended to reinforce Congress’s power of the purse when it comes to withholding or reprogramming of appropriated funds, “timely obligation and prudent expenditure” of foreign assistance resources, and foreign assistance reviews. These include:

  • Notes that “OMB and the National Security Council (NSC) are unnecessarily involved in the production and review of foreign assistance funding and policy decisions and needlessly hinder the execution of programming.”
  • Prohibits the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from delaying or restricting Congressionally-directed apportionment of funds to agencies.
  • Prevents the Administration from “programmatic, funding, and organizational changes resulting from implementation of any foreign assistance review” without prior consultation with Congress.
  • Encourages the State Department to speed up delivery of its 653(a) report and prohibits any deviations from Congressionally-directed funding levels until the report has been received by Congress.

What’s Next
House Appropriators are moving at a breakneck pace to complete committee action on all twelve FY21 spending bills by next week, with floor action expected during the last two weeks of July.

The Senate Appropriations Committee had intended to begin marking up its FY21 spending bills last month, but disagreements over amendments related to COVID-19 and police reform have delayed action. With less than three months left until the end of the fiscal year, Congress will likely need to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded while the House and Senate work to finalize FY21 spending bills.

Meanwhile, negotiations between Congress and the Administration on the next phase of FY20 emergency funding to respond to COVID-19 are expected to begin in earnest when Members return from their two-week July 4th recess – with the objective of completing action on a supplemental before Congress leaves town again for August recess.