FY16 SFOPS Full Committee Markup Bill Summary

Full Committee Mark:  July 9, 2015
Washington, D.C.–The fiscal year 2016 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) bill provides a total of $48.27 billion in non-emergency discretionary budget authority, which is $997 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level of $49.27 billion excluding emergency funding for Ebola.  In addition the bill provides $759 million for emergency costs related to humanitarian and refugee crises.
The Subcommittee’s allocation conforms to the post-sequester caps under the Budget Control Act.  No Democrat voted for these unacceptable spending levels, which the Subcommittee chairman and ranking member have recognized do not adequately protect U.S. security interests.  They undercut our influence with our adversaries, as well as with our allies.  They weaken our ability to lead in international organizations, including international financial institutions where we risk losing voting shares.  They undermine the ability of our diplomats and aid workers to do what Republicans and Democrats want them to do – promote and protect America’s interests abroad by preventing conflict, combating poverty, supporting democracy and the rule of law, and building foreign markets.  It makes no sense, and it illustrates the imperative of a new budget deal, in the spirit of Murray-Ryan, that stops hollowing out investments in U.S. and global security. 
U.S. Senator Leahy Ranking Member (D-Vt.), Ranking Member of the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee, said:
“Chairman Graham has done his best with a woefully inadequate budget allocation, and I thank him and his staff for working with me and my staff.  Obviously there are things in the bill I do not agree with – some I strongly disagree with – which is the nature of this process. 
“The Subcommittee Chairman has been outspoken in his criticism of sequestration, as have I and many others.  He and I both know this bill does not adequately protect our national security interests.  The fact that we have to go through this unnecessary, time consuming, flawed process all the while knowing the President will veto the bill at this level, is regrettable.  Slashing our contributions to the international financial institutions, providing zero for the Green Climate Fund, falling short by hundreds of millions of dollars for the Central America security and prosperity initiative, and underfunding most other accounts in the bill – from the Peace Corps to the Millennium Challenge Corporation to humanitarian relief for victims of war and natural disasters – is inexcusable for the world’s wealthiest, most powerful nation.  Ultimately, the solution lies in a new, bipartisan budget agreement that enables the United States to meet its international obligations and be the leader we and the world needs.  My amendment today would have addressed this problem, but the other party voted to affirm the sequestration levels.”
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement:
“Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Leahy have done a good job with a tight allocation, but the bill is $4.9 billion less than the President’s request.  The State and Foreign Operations bill supports important work, including promoting America’s public diplomacy, assisting our treasured allies like Israel and Jordan, keeping our embassies safe, helping our Central American neighbors, fighting despicable human trafficking and protecting vulnerable populations. 
“But we need more resources to protect U.S. interests around the world and adequately support critically important international diplomacy, development and national security efforts.  The only way we can do that is with a new budget deal that ends sequester for defense and non-defense, without gimmicks.  We can’t go on pretending that a Presidential veto will magically solve the budget problems keeping us from moving these bills.  We should speed up the process by buckling down and finding a way to end sequester with a new, bipartisan budget deal, right now.”
Key Points & Highlights – The bill provides funding for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs.  These agencies are responsible for the diplomacy, development and national security programs that enable the United States to exert global leadership.  Our embassies and consulates assist millions of Americans doing business, serving in the government and studying abroad, as well as the citizens of those countries seeking visas to visit the U.S.  The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) maintains 77 overseas missions that implement global health, economic development, and humanitarian relief programs, which can mean life or death for hundreds of millions of people.
  • The bill provides funding to support current operations for the Department of State and USAID, but does not support the requested new staff for the Department of State, and cuts funding for USAID operations to $142 million below the requested level.
  • The bill supports our contributions to the United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international agencies. 
  • The bill includes the authorization and funding requested to implement International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota and governance reforms.  Implementing the reforms does not change the U.S. financial commitment to the IMF, and will improve IMF effectiveness and protect the U.S. veto power and leadership at the IMF.
Investments in the Department of State, USAID and multilateral international organizations help to build a safer, more stable world, and directly benefit the U.S. economy.  But because of the sequestration funding limits under the Republican budget, investments in diplomacy and development are cut to inadequate levels, affecting the lives of people in the poorest countries, and costing U.S. jobs and economic gains.
  • Global Health – The bill includes $8.47 billion for the Global Health Programs account, an increase of $14.05 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, including funding for most programs at or above the request level.  However, funding for maternal and child health is $55 million below the request level of $770 million, and funding for children’s vaccines is $35 million below the request level of $235 million.  These funds have a direct impact on rates of mortality for tens of millions of children. 
  • Central America Alliance for Prosperity Plan – The bill provides $675 million for the Alliance for Prosperity Plan, which is $125 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level of $550 million, but $325 million (a 32 percent cut) less than the $1 billion request.  These funds are used to address the causes of migration of unaccompanied children from the poorest and most violent regions of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – The bill provides $901 million for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an increase of $1.5 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, but $349 million less than the request of $1.25 billion, limiting the funds available for the MCC to negotiate and implement compacts by one-third.  The MCC supports economic growth programs that create jobs in countries that meet key anti-corruption and poverty reduction criteria.
  • Relief for Refugees – The bill cuts assistance for refugees to $415 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level at a time when the number of refugees and internally displaced persons exceeds 60 million worldwide – the most in recent history.  These programs provide life-saving food, water, medicine and shelter for the world’s most vulnerable people who are fleeing violence in Syria, Somalia, Sudan and other volatile regions.
  • Climate Change – The bill includes limited funding for a U.S. contribution to the Green Climate Fund.  This new multilateral fund is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change in countries that are already experiencing serious threats to water availability and food production.  If the U.S. fails to contribute, other governments, most notably China, will have little incentive to either.  Not only could this derail efforts to mitigate climate change impacts in the world’s most vulnerable countries, it would hurt U.S. clean energy companies that are poised to benefit from exports and investments financed by the GCF. 
  • Export Promotion – In response to economic competition from other countries and expanding U.S. trade with Africa, Asia and Latin America, the bill provides funding for the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.  However, the bill does not include authorization for the Export-Import Bank, which finances billions of dollars in U.S. exports annually by providing U.S. companies with a level playing field against foreign competitors.  Without authorization, Ex-Im cannot finance new loans to support U.S. companies in fiscal year 2016.
  • International Financial Institutions (IFIs) – The bill provides a total of $1.57 billion for U.S. contributions to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility, and other IFIs that are treaty obligations.  This unprecedented cut of 49.6 percent from the request will send shockwaves through these institutions, which the U.S. was instrumental in creating, and erode U.S. influence on decisions over billions of dollars of investments that U.S. companies compete for.  In time it will cause a loss of U.S. voting shares to China and other shareholder governments.
Prohibition on Implementation of Rules and Regulations to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions – The bill continues and expands provisions in current law that prevent the enforcement of any rule, regulation or policy implemented by the Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation or the World Bank that would prohibit any coal-fired power plant.  However, an amendment sponsored by Senator Leahy, and adopted during the Full Committee markup, ensures that this is a one year provision and that one of the purposes of such financing is to provide affordable energy to people who lack access to electricity.
Mexico City Policy and Other Family Planning/Reproductive Health Programs – The original version of the bill would have codified the Mexico City policy, which prohibits federal funding to private nongovernmental organizations that use their own private funds to provide abortion services in countries where it is legal.  It would have prohibited any funds for the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides voluntary family planning services in 150 countries and does not fund abortions.  It would also have cut funding for voluntary family planning/reproductive health programs to $149 million below the fiscal year 2015 level.  However, an amendment offered by Senators Shaheen, Mikulski, Leahy and others was adopted during the Full Committee markup.  The amendment replaced the Mexico City language with a provision that permits funding for nongovernmental organizations, and restored funding for UNFPA and other voluntary family planning/reproductive health programs.  (The bill still continues the longstanding prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortion.) 
Leahy Budget Amendment
During the Full Committee markup, Senator Leahy offered an amendment to restore most of the funds requested by the President that were not included due to the spartan, post-sequester funding allocation.  Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated on a party line vote.  The amendment would have provided an additional $4.62 billion: an increase of $7.59 billion in base funding, a decrease of $2.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, and a decrease of $759 million in emergency funding.  With the Leahy amendment the bill would have totaled $53.6 billion in discretionary budget authority.
Among other things, the Leahy amendment would have:
  • Funded educational and cultural exchange programs at the President’s request level of $623 million (an increase of $32.2 million above the level in the bill).  These funds make it possible for additional students and professionals from developing countries – including countries where misinformation and misunderstanding about the United States is common – to study in the U.S., participate in leadership training programs and be exposed to American culture and values. 
  • Increased funding for Development Assistance (DA) by $361.8 million to fund DA at the President’s request of $2.99 billion.  These funds support a wide array of social and economic development programs, including for basic education, water and sanitation, governance, women’s empowerment, small business development and environmental conservation.
  • Provided an additional $264 million within DA and Economic Support Fund for a total of $939 million to support the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle of Central America.  These additional funds would support programs to combat corruption, improve law enforcement and reduce poverty in countries where unemployment is rampant and drug-related violence and corruption are corroding already fragile democratic institutions.
  • Increased funding for maternal and child health programs by $55 million to $770 million, which is equal to the request.  This includes a $35 million increase to GAVI, for a total U.S. contribution of $235 million, which is equal to the request.  These additional funds will save thousands of lives in countries where easily preventable diseases, like measles, continue to claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of children each year.
  • Provided $500 million for the Green Climate Fund, the amount requested, which is a new multilateral fund to foster climate resilient, low-greenhouse gas emission projects in developing countries.
  • Doubled funding in the bill for the IFIs and multilateral trust funds, including the Global Environment Facility, Clean Technology Fund, and Strategic Climate Fund.
  • Provided an additional $233 million for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), for a total of $1.13 billion for the MCC.
  • Increased funding for the Peace Corps to the request level of $410 million.  Peace Corps volunteers are in demand around the world and are among our best ambassadors.  These additional funds would allow the Peace Corps to increase its presence in countries around the world.   
  • Reauthorized the Export-Import Bank from the date of enactment of the bill until September 30, 2016, which will enable Ex-Im to begin processing new transactions for U.S. businesses and increase the funds Ex-Im will return to the U.S. Treasury by up to an additional $200 million.

Press Contact

Mara Stark-Alcalá w/Appropriations: (202) 224-2667
David Carle w/Leahy: (202) 224-3693

Related Files