FY2019 State & Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Cleared by Senate Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Appropriations today approved the FY2019 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, strengthening federal programs and operations that support national security and American values abroad.
The $54.4 billion appropriations bill strengthens diplomacy and development, promotes democracy abroad, provides critical assistance to allies, and continues life-saving global health and humanitarian assistance programs for the world’s most vulnerable populations. The measure was approved 31-0.
“This bill works to ensure that our foreign assistance funding is both effective and efficient. Additionally, it provides the appropriate resources for programs impacting global health. Whether for humanitarian, diplomatic, or national security purposes, foreign aid programs can play a role in preserving the security of the United States,” said Senate Appropriation Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “I applaud Senator Graham and Vice Chairman Leahy on their good work on this balanced measure.”
“First and foremost, this is a national security bill. This bill makes America safer by supporting critical diplomatic efforts around the world, providing security assistance for our allies, directing stabilization assistance for areas in chaos due to conflict, and supporting life-saving health and humanitarian assistance to people in dire need,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee. “The challenges we face are increasingly dynamic and complex, with hostile regimes seeking to undermine our standing on the world’s stage at every turn. Now is not the time for retreat. This bill signals to the world that America is not backing away from its role as the leader of the free world.”
Supports Key Allies, Counters Extremism, and Promotes Democracy and Human Rights
- $3.3 billion for military aid for Israel, $5 million for refugees resettling in Israel; and continues restrictions on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
- $1.5 billion for economic and military assistance for Jordan, and an additional $50 million in Relief and Recovery Funds.
- $300 million for the Countering Russian Influence Fund, $50 million above the FY2018 enacted level.
- $165.4 million for assistance for Tunisia, and an additional $50 million in Relief and Recovery Funds.
- $250 million for the Relief and Recovery Fund for assistance for areas liberated from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other extremist groups.
- $160 million to implement the Indo-Pacific Strategy.
- $2.4 billion for democracy programs, and an additional $170 million for the National Endowment for Democracy. This amount is $91.5 million above the FY2018 enacted level.
- $515.5 million for assistance for Central American countries to implement the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, an increase of $80 million above the budget request.
- $20 million to promote democracy and rule of law in Venezuela.
Promotes and Protects International Religious Freedom – $25 million for programs to promote international religious freedom. In addition, the bill provides $6.5 million for the Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom, and $2 million for the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom in the Near East and South Central Asia.
Strengthens Embassy Security – $5.7 billion to ensure the security and safety of U.S. diplomats and development specialists: America’s first line of defense abroad. Funds embassy security at the level recommended by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.
Provides Assistance for Refugees – $3.4 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance, maintaining the long-held U.S. commitment to protecting and addressing the needs of refugees impacted by conflict and other natural and manmade disasters.
International Disaster Assistance – $4.4 billion for International Disaster Assistance, which is $100 million above the FY2018 level.
Protects Life – The bill continues provisions relating to abortion, including the Tiahrt, Helms, and Kemp-Kasten Amendments.
STRENGTHENING GLOBAL HEALTH
Global Health Program – The mark includes a total of $8.8 billion for Global Health Programs, of which $3.1 billion is for USAID health programs, and $5.7 billion is for the Department of State.
- HIV/AIDS – $6 billion for global HIV/AIDS assistance, of which $5.72 billion is for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), $1.35 billion is for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and $330 million is for USAID HIV/AIDS programs. This is an increase of $50 million over the prior fiscal year.
- Global Health Security – provides $100 million, including $27.5 million repurposed from unobligated Ebola balances, for global health security programs to protect the U.S. homeland from contagious infectious disease outbreaks abroad by accelerating the capabilities of targeted countries to prevent, detect, and respond to such outbreaks.
- Polio – includes $59 million for polio eradication efforts
- Maternal and Child Health – $829.5 million for maternal and child health programs, including $290 million for the GAVI Alliance
- Malaria – $755 million to combat malaria
- Tuberculosis – $275 million for tuberculosis programs
- Neglected Tropical Diseases – $106 million combat Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Nutrition – $135 million for nutrition assistance
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE
The bill provides a total of $8.8 billion for critical assistance for counterterrorism and nonproliferation programs, foreign military training and education programs, peacekeeping operations, as well as financing for critical military equipment for U.S. partners around the world, including:
- International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement – $1.4 billion;
- Nonproliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programs – $860.7 million, of which $314.4 million is for anti-terrorism programs;
- Peacekeeping Operations – $477.4 million, including $31 million for a U.S. contribution to the Multinational Force and Observer mission in the Sinai;
- International Military Education and Training Programs – $110.7 million; and
- Foreign Military Financing Program – $5.9 billion.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE OPERATIONS AND OTHER FUNDING
Administration of Foreign Affairs – $11.8 billion for the Administration of Foreign Affairs, including funding to maintain staffing levels at the Department of State at FY2016 levels.
Reorganization – The bill requires that the Department of State, USAID, and any other agency funded by the bill to consult with, and notify, the Committees on Appropriations prior to implementing any plan to expand, eliminate, consolidate, or downsize covered departments, agencies, or organizations.
USAID Operations – $1.46 billion for USAID operating expenses, including to maintain staffing and operational levels consistent with prior fiscal years. An additional $4 million above the budget request is provided to the USAID Office of Inspector General.
Palestinian Authority – The bill restricts assistance for the West Bank and Gaza, as well as assistance for the Palestinian Authority, and includes $50 million for Private Sector Partnerships Programs between Palestinian and international businesses.
Multilateral Assistance – $1.83 billion for multilateral assistance, which includes funding to meet U.S. commitments to international financial institutions.
The bill does not fund the United Nations (U.N.) Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization or the U.N. Population Fund.
The bill does not include funds for a contribution, grant, or any other payment to the Green Climate Fund, as none were requested by the President.
The bill promotes U.N. peacekeeping reforms and continues to restrict assistance for units involved in sexual exploitation and abuse.
The bill funds assessed contributions for U.N. international organizations and peacekeeping activities at 22 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
REFORMS, SAVINGS, AND REDUCING GOVERNMENT WASTE
The bill and accompanying report include numerous oversight provisions to ensure proper use of taxpayer funds and accountability of the administration. The bill provides robust funding for the Department of State and USAID IGs, including the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and directs implementation of key IG and GAO recommendations. The bill maintains a provision prohibiting the use of funds in the bill to deny an Inspector General funded under the bill timely access to any records, documents, or other materials, or to impede the access of such IG to such records, documents, or materials. In addition, the bill:
- Continues stringent requirements for records management by the Department of State and USAID;
- Enhances the effectiveness of humanitarian aid through the collection of data to improve the understanding of the needs and perceptions of beneficiaries;
- Continues limitations on conference expenses; and
- Prohibits funds to establish or maintain a computer network at a federal agency funded by the Act unless the network has filters to block sexually explicit websites.
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