The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill totals $40.1 billion in regular discretionary funding, which is $2 billion or 5% below last year's level.
The bill contains funding for diplomatic operations and foreign assistance activities -- including programs to promote security and stability in the developing world; activities to fight illegal drug-trafficking and crime; and security assistance to U.S. strategic allies, including assistance for Israel. The bill also includes significant reforms to improve the oversight and management of precious tax dollars, and supports important policy provisions to ensure the respect for life around the world.
The bill to be considered tomorrow saves taxpayer dollars by cutting funding to lower-priority international programs, while also providing responsible investments in critical national security, diplomatic, and life-saving efforts -- such as security assistance for Latin American countries, global health, and humanitarian programs. The bill also includes $8.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terror (OCO/GWOT) funding, which will adequately provide for continued U.S. involvement in front-line countries and other war-related efforts. In total, including war funding, the bill is $5 billion -- or 9% -- below fiscal year 2012.
"It is more important than ever that taxpayer dollars be used in the most efficient, frugal, and common-sense way to balance our international responsibilities with the very real economic and financial challenges we face here at home. This bill meets our commitment to providing essential security, diplomatic, and humanitarian assistance abroad, while reducing funding for lower-priority programs and providing a keen eye towards the oversight of every tax dollar," Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger echoed Rogers' statement, saying:
"This is a tough, effective national security bill that continues to cut spending, reform our aid programs, and demand accountability from our partners and allies. This bill reflects principled funding decisions that give the United States the flexibility to respond to a rapidly changing world while making sure our foreign aid is not a blank check for foreign governments who do not support our national security priorities," Chairwoman Granger said.
International Security Assistance -- The bill provides $7.3 billion in discretionary funding for international security assistance, a decrease of $632 million from the President's request and $39 million over last year's level.
This includes funds for international narcotics control, anti-terrorism programs, nonproliferation programs, peacekeeping operations, and other international security efforts. The bill fully funds the $3.1 billion commitment outlined in the United States-Israel Memorandum of Understanding for security assistance, and the $300 million request for security assistance for Jordan. It also increases support for security initiatives in Mexico, Colombia, and Central America to help ongoing counter-narcotics and law enforcement efforts.
Bilateral Assistance -- The legislation contains a total of $17.2 billion for bilateral economic assistance, a decrease of $1.1 billion below last year and $3 billion below the President's request. While making sensible cuts to lower-priority areas, the bill restores some of the cuts proposed in the President's request for priority global health programs, refugee assistance, and democracy promotion activities. Funding for the Peace Corps, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Development Assistance is essentially maintained at last year's level.
Multilateral Assistance -- The legislation provides $2.2 billion for multilateral assistance, a reduction of $734 million below last year and $715 million below the President's request. The bill makes significant cuts to many multilateral international organizations and programs, including reductions to international banks. The bill eliminates funding for the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund, and provides just half of the requested capital for multilateral development banks. The bill also imposes conditions on multilateral development banks capital funding, requiring successful implementation of a number of transparency and accountability measures.
Export and Investment Programs -- The bill continues to support export and investment assistance programs, including level funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency.
State Department Operations and Related Agencies -- The bill contains a total of $12.9 billion in discretionary funding for operational costs of the State Department and related agencies -- a decrease of $433 million below last year's level and $1.5 billion below the President's request. This includes funding for programs such as diplomatic and consular affairs, embassy security and operations, assessed contributions to international organizations, and international broadcasting. No funding is included for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Operations -- The bill contains $1.2 billion for USAID -- a reduction of $73 million from last year's level and $252.5 million below the President's request. An additional $258 million in OCO/GWOT funding is provided to cover costs of USAID operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Global War on Terror -- The bill includes $8.2 billion in OCO/GWOT funding -- a reduction of $3 billion below last year. This war funding is designed to be temporary, and year-to-year reductions are expected. This includes funding for programs and activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In Iraq, these funds will support security forces previously funded by the Department of Defense. This funding will also provide for civilian programs in Afghanistan as part of the military's counterinsurgency efforts.
Increased Oversight and Management -- The bill includes several provisions to increase oversight and tighten the reins on the management of programs and use of taxpayer dollars. Some of these provisions include:
Direct Government Assistance -- The bill includes layers of conditions on government-to-government assistance, including assessments, certifications, and annual reporting requirements.
United Nations Reform -- The bill provides no funding for the Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State certifies that it is in the national interest, and unless the Council stops its anti-Israel agenda. This bill also prohibits funds for UN organizations headed by terrorist countries, and withholds a portion of funds for the UN and international organizations until financial audits are fully available to the United States Government and the public.
Multi-Year Funding Commitments -- The legislation requires additional Congressional oversight before the Administration makes public announcements of multi-year funding pledges to other countries or international organizations.
Afghanistan -- The legislation withholds operating funds until a transition plan is submitted and withholds assistance until certifications that proper security is in place for civilian aid workers can be made.
Pakistan -- The legislation prohibits economic and security assistance unless the Government of Pakistan is cooperating with the United States on counterterrorism efforts and other issues.
Egypt -- The legislation prohibits economic and security assistance if the Government of Egypt does not adhere to the peace treaty with Israel, and requires the Secretary of State to certify that additional conditions have been met, including respect for due process of law.
Palestinian Authority -- The legislation stops economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority if the Palestinians obtain membership at the United Nations or its specialized agencies without an agreement with Israel.
Important Policy Provisions -- The bill supports important policy provisions to safeguard the respect for life around the globe. For example, the bill:
Reinstates Mexico City Policy, a policy prohibiting U.S. assistance to foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions.
Prohibits funding for the UN Population Fund, and caps family planning and reproductive health programs at no more than the fiscal year 2008 level.
Maintains long-standing pro-life riders, including the "Tiahrt Amendment," which ensures family planning programs are voluntary; the "Helms Amendment," which bans foreign aid from being spent on abortions; and the "Kemp-Kasten Amendment," which prohibits funds to organizations the President determines to support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Contains no funds for needle exchange programs.