SUMMARY: Fiscal Year 2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill
Washington, D.C. (Thursday, September 26, 2019) – The bill provides $55 billion in discretionary budget authority, including $8 billion for overseas contingency operations (OCO). The allocation is $11.6 billion above the President’s request as scored by CBO, and $782 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, said:
“The President sent us a budget for diplomacy and international development that was the antithesis of the visionary global leadership the American people and the world expect of the United States of America. In the past, we worked closely with the White House, regardless of which party was in control, to write bills that reflected a consensus between the executive and legislative branches. No longer. With no meaningful input from a White House that appears not to care, we have worked to fund the programs that provide alternatives to military force and reflect the values and interests of the American people.
“Top Administration officials act as if longstanding alliances don’t matter, pay lip service to the rights and liberties that those who preceded us gave their lives to defend, and treat international agreements as words on paper that can be cavalierly repudiated. They propose to slash funding for programs that prevent conflict, protect public health, mitigate climate change, reduce corruption and impunity, and address many other global threats. Republicans and Democrats on this subcommittee recognize that we live in an increasingly competitive, complex, and unstable world, in which China is expanding its influence at every opportunity. While we have our differences – how, or even whether, to respond to climate change being a compelling example – we have done our best to meet these challenges by providing the funding for international diplomacy and development, and supporting the professionals who continue to believe in the ideals this country stands for.”
Key Points & Highlights – In order to protect and promote U.S. national interests, the bill provides funding at or close to the fiscal year 2019 enacted levels. In doing so, the bill rejects the arbitrary and dangerous cuts proposed by the Trump Administration, therefore providing continuity and predictability for Federal agencies funded by the act, including to support U.S. foreign and civil service personnel and the programs they implement. Millions of Americans travel, work, study, and serve abroad every year, and they rely on the assistance of U.S. diplomats posted overseas.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) works in over 100 countries to combat infectious diseases and promote global health security, provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to victims of man-made and natural disasters, strengthen democratic institutions, and expand economic opportunities for local populations to alleviate poverty and build stronger U.S. partners. The activities undertaken by the State Department and USAID and the other entities funded in the bill directly contribute to U.S. national security and economic growth.
- The bill requires increased hiring at the State Department and USAID to restore cuts made by the Trump Administration, and provides the funding necessary to do so. Now more than ever we need to ensure that our foreign and civil service personnel have adequate resources to carry out their responsibilities.
- The bill conditions any steps to redesign or reorganize Federal agencies on detailed implementation plans to ensure that such efforts do not undermine effectiveness.
The bill rejects the Trump Administration’s repudiation of multilateralism by providing the funds necessary to pay the full U.S. share of assessments to international organizations, including for the United Nations (UN), and includes $378 million for voluntary contributions to various UN agencies and international organizations for which the White House proposed to eliminate funding. However, for the third fiscal year in a row the bill does not fix the statutory cap on U.S. contributions for UN peacekeeping, which the Trump Administration has pledged not to exceed even if provided with the necessary authority, resulting in arrears estimated at more than $750 million through fiscal year 2019 and another $180 million in fiscal year 2020. Such arrears damage U.S. credibility and weaken UN peacekeeping missions.
Other highlights include:
Global Health, Development, and Humanitarian Assistance
- Global Health Programs: The bill provides a total of $9.1 billion for programs to protect global health, which is $266 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $2.1 billion above the President’s request. Funding is increased for nutrition programs; to combat tuberculosis, malaria, and polio; and for the Global Fund, which is funded at $210 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level so the U.S. can continue to pay 33 percent of total anticipated contributions. However, the bill cuts funding for PEPFAR by 50 million below the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. The bill also provides $100 million to combat pandemic threats and strengthen global health security.
- Family Planning: The bill provides $32.5 million for the UN Population Fund, equal to the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, and increases funding for USAID family planning programs by $57 million, for a total of $665 million in the bill for family planning programs. The bill also includes language requiring the USAID Administrator to promptly inform the Committee of any instance in which USAID’s nondiscrimination policies have not been applied to grants and contracts for family planning and HIV/AIDS assistance, and requires a GAO evaluation of USAID family planning programs.
- Water and Sanitation Programs: The bill provides $450 million, including $205 million for sub-Saharan Africa, which is $15 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $285 million above the President’s request.
- Environment and Energy Programs: The bill includes $0 for the Green Climate Fund and several other climate-change related funds and programs, but continues funding for USAID environment programs, such as to protect tropical forests and endangered species, at $964.6 million, which is $45 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, including $139 million for the Global Environment Facility. The bill also includes $10 million for a U.S. contribution to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- Humanitarian Aid for Refugees and Disaster Victims: The bill provides $7.8 billion, which is equal to the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $1.5 billion above the President’s request for food, water, shelter, and other services for displaced persons around the world. There are more refugees and internally displaced persons today than at any time since World War II. Not only are there many protracted humanitarian crises on multiple continents, host country economies are under increasing strain. These funds help tens of millions of people survive and support host communities.
Department of State Operations and International Organizations
- Embassy Security: The bill provides $5.67 billion for embassy security, which is $257 million above the President’s request, to meet the full cost of the State Department’s share for overseas capital security and to protect U.S. diplomats and development personnel abroad.
- Multilateral Assistance: The bill provides $1.69 billion, which is $170 million above the request, for the World Bank and other international financial institutions. These institutions have bipartisan support and help leverage funds from other donors to advance shared development goals, resulting in greater value for U.S. taxpayers.
- International Commissions: The bill provides $164 million, which is $23 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $46 million above the President’s request, for international commissions that manage transboundary resources, wastewater treatment, and other international challenges that directly impact the economies of U.S. communities near the northern and southern borders, as well those reliant on international fisheries.
- Millennium Challenge Corporation: The bill provides $905 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $105 million above the President’s request.
- U.S. Institute of Peace: The bill provides $45 million, which is $6.4 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $26 million above the President’s request.
- Peace Corps: The bill provides $410.5 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $14.3 million above the President’s request.
- Inter-American Foundation and U.S. African Development Foundation: The bill rejects the consolidation of these agencies into USAID as proposed in the President’s request, and increases funding for both above the fiscal year 2019 levels. These agencies contribute to U.S. national interests abroad and proposals to eliminate or consolidate them have not been justified.
- U.S. International Development Finance Corporation: The bill fully funds the new Development Finance Corporation as authorized in the BUILD Act of 2018.
Other Priority Programs
- Educational and Cultural Exchanges: The bill provides $735.7 million for international exchanges, which is $34.7 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $426 million above the President’s request, including increases for the Young Leaders initiatives. The bill includes $10 million for a new civil society exchange program, funding for the John McCain scholarship program for the children of American military families with financial need, and funding to provide opportunities for students at military academies abroad and foreign faculty in national security fields to study and work in the United States.
- Democracy Programs: The bill includes $2.8 billion, which is $226 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, for programs to promote effective and accountable government institutions, promote human rights and democratic political processes, and build the civic engagement capacity of local communities, all which help advance U.S. interests by fostering stability.
- Central America: The bill provides $515 million for the countries of Central America, which is $12 million below the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $70 million above the President’s request, with conditions on human rights and governance similar to fiscal year 2019. These funds will advance U.S. interests in promoting stability and reducing migration by combating poverty, corruption, drug trafficking, and gang violence, and improving education and economic opportunities in Central America.
- Protection of Civil Society Activists and Journalists: The bill provides $23 million to protect and support civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalists who are threatened and attacked in foreign countries.
- Hong Kong: The bill provides $1.5 million for democracy programs for Hong Kong.
- U.S. Partners and Allies: The bill provides $3.3 billion for military assistance for Israel consistent with the 10-year Memorandum of Understanding; increases assistance for Jordan, Georgia, Ukraine, Tunisia, and other U.S. partners and allies.
- Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans: The bill includes 4,000 additional Special Immigrant Visas, and extension of the program, for Afghans who face threats due to their employment by the U.S. government.
- Countering Russian Influence Fund: The bill includes $285 million for the Countering Russian Influence Fund, which is $10 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, to improve governance, facilitate economic development, and provide security assistance to countries threatened by Russian influence and aggression in Europe and Eurasia.
- Countering Chinese Influence Fund: The bill includes $375 million for a new Countering Chinese Influence Fund to expand U.S. partnerships and counter Chinese pressure globally, in addition to the fiscal year 2019 level for operations and assistance in support of the Indo-Pacific Strategy.
- Relief and Recovery Fund: The bill includes $200 million for the Relief and Recovery Fund, equal to the fiscal year 2019 enacted level, to build on investments made in prior years to assist communities recently liberated or under threat from violent extremist organizations, including ISIS.
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