July 30, 2010

International Affairs Budget Update 7/30/10

July 30, 2010

1.     Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2011 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
2.     FY 2010 Supplemental Signed by President Obama
3.     Outlook for Remainder of FY 2011 Appropriations Process

1.     Senate Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2011 State-Foreign Operations
Appropriations Bill

Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2011 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which funds about 96% of the International Affairs Budget.  The measure provides a total funding level of $54.06 billion, $2.6 billion or 4.6%, less than the President’s request.  Debate on the bill was dominated by a partisan fight over spending levels.  As has been the case for appropriations markups in both chambers this year, Republicans have been pushing to make additional cuts to the spending bills.  As a result, all Republicans on the Committee voted against passage of the bill.

As it did last year, the Committee adopted by a vote of 19-11 an amendment offered Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) to permanently repeal the “Mexico City Policy,” also known as the Global Gag Rule, which imposes additional abortion-related restrictions on U.S. family planning assistance.

Highlights of the bill:

Afghanistan:   The Senate bill  makes deep cuts to U.S. assistance to Afghanistan, reducing the $3.9 billion request to $2.6 billion.

Pakistan and Iraq:  For the other two Frontline states, the bill also reduces the Administration’s request, although not to the same extent as for Afghanistan.  Pakistan aid falls $500 million from the $3 billion request.  Iraq assistance is cut by about $200 million from a request of $729 million.

Other Strategic Partners:  The bill provides full funding to several key Middle East partners.  Israel ($3 billion), Egypt ($1.55 billion), and Jordan ($682 million) receive levels recommended in the President’s budget.

Global Health: Overall funding for global health programs totals $8.24 billion, $274 million below the FY11 request.  Committee allocations for various elements within global health, however, offer a mixed picture:

  • HIV/AIDS receives $5.85 billion, the same as the request; within this total, the Global Fund would get $800, $100 million more than proposed.
  • Tuberculosis is set at $230 million, at the requested level.
  • Family Planning/Reproductive Health gets a small increase to $700 million, including $55 million for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).

While other parts of Global Health are set above FY10 amounts, the Committee mark cuts several below the President’s request:

  • Malaria is down to $636 million, $50 million under the request.
  • Maternal and Child Health, a major focus at the recent G8 summit, receives $641 million in the Global Health/Child Survival account, $59 million below the President’s budget.
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases, an area slated for one of the largest increases in the Administration’s request, gets $100 million, well below the $155 million request.

Food Security and Agriculture: Feed the Future, a high priority food security initiative of the Obama Administration, fared less well in the Committee mark.  The Senate panel cut the $1.76 billion request to $1.26 billion, reducing both bilateral and multilateral parts of the initiative.

2.     FY 2010 Supplemental Signed by President Obama

On Tuesday the House passed (by a 308-114 vote) the $58.8 billion FY 2010 war and Haiti supplemental as originally passed by the Senate in late May.  Over one hundred Democrats in the House opposed the measure due to concerns about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. President Obama signed the bill on Thursday.  The critically needed funding was stalled for many weeks due to a battle over nearly $23 billion in additional domestic spending that House leaders sought to include in the bill.  The supplemental as passed by both chambers provides $6.3 billion for the International Affairs Budget, mainly for Haiti disaster relief and programs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The bill also includes $600 million in smaller allocations for Mexico, Jordan and several other countries.

3.     Outlook for Remainder of FY 2011 Appropriations Process

With the House scheduled to go on recess this evening until after Labor Day, and the Senate soon to follow suit, few legislative days remain before the FY 2011 fiscal year begins on October 1st.  Therefore, as we’ve been reporting, very few individual appropriations bills are likely to see floor action in either the House or the Senate before the start of the new fiscal year and before Congress adjourns in early October for the mid-term elections.  The most likely scenario is that Congress will pass a Continuing Resolution in September that will keep the government operating at FY 2010 levels until after the November election. Congress could then return later in November or December for a “lame duck” session, during which time they could pass an omnibus appropriations bill that includes the State-Foreign Operations bill and all the other appropriations bills.  Alternatively, they could also extend the Continuing Resolution into early 2011 and leave final spending decisions up to the new Congress.