SUMMARY -- FY2019 State & Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Approved by Senate Subcommittee
Washington, D.C. (Tuesday, June 19, 2018) – The bill provides $54.418 billion in discretionary budget authority, including $8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations. The allocation is $12.2 billion above the President’s request and $400 million above the fiscal year 2018 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:
“This bill is an example of the Congress rejecting the divisive, reckless approach to governing of the Trump White House. As in the past, Subcommittee Chairman Graham and I have worked together to respond to the input of Members of both parties in drafting a bill that aims to protect U.S. national interests and preserve U.S. global leadership.
“Some suggest that longstanding alliances don’t matter, that our values and principals are dispensable, that international agreements can be cavalierly repudiated, and that funding can be slashed for programs to combat poverty, prevent armed conflict, reduce corruption, fight infectious diseases, and address many other global problems. Republicans and Democrats on this subcommittee recognize that we live in an increasingly competitive and complex world in which peace and security are under threat. We have met those challenges in this bill by defending diplomacy and development, and supporting the professionals who implement U.S. policies and assistance programs.”
Key Points & Highlights – In order to protect and promote U.S. national interests, the bill provides funding at or close to the fiscal year 2018 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 many services provided by 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, 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 myriad other agencies funded in the bill directly contribute to U.S. national security and economic growth.
- The bill requires that the State Department and USAID restart hiring to pre-Trump Administration levels, 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 $311 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. Such arrears damage U.S. credibility and negatively impact UN peacekeeping missions.
Other highlights include:
- Humanitarian Aid for Refugees and Disaster Victims: The bill provides $7.8 billion, which is $173 million above the fiscal year 2018 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 fleeing man-made and natural disasters 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 millions of people survive and provide host communities with much needed support.
- Global Health: The bill provides a total of $8.8 billion for programs to protect global health, which is $102 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $2.1 billion above the President’s request. Funding is increased for nutrition programs and to combat tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, and, for the first time in four years, to combat HIV/AIDS which is funded at $50 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. The bill also provides $100 million to combat pandemic threats and strengthen global health security, including $27.45 million from unobligated prior year Ebola balances. The bill transfers all remaining unobligated Ebola balances into the Emergency Reserve Fund to respond to emerging health threats that pose risks to human health and U.S. national interests.
- Water and Sanitation Programs: The bill provides $435 million, including $195 million for sub-Saharan Africa, which is $35 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $129 million above the President’s request.
- Climate Change: 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, including to protect tropical forests and endangered species, at the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
- Embassy Security: The bill provides $5.67 billion for embassy security, which is $378 million above the President’s request (excluding the President’s proposed rescission of funds appropriated in fiscal year 2017 for Diplomatic Security, which the bill rejects), 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 restores $30 million for the International Fund for Agricultural Development which the Trump Administration proposed to eliminate, provides $136.6 million for the Global Environment Facility, which is $68 million above the President’s request, and provides $1.35 billion, the amount requested, 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. The bill provides an additional $1.5 million for the World Bank Inspection Panel and $500,000 for the Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman at the International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.
- International Commissions: The bill provides $141 million, which is $4 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $24 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 2018 enacted level and $105 million above the President’s request.
- U.S. Institute of Peace: The bill provides $37.8 million, which is equal to the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $17.8 million above the President’s request.
- Educational and Cultural Exchanges: The bill provides $690.6 million for international exchanges, which is $44 million above the fiscal year 2018 level and $531 million above the President’s request, including increases for the Fulbright and Benjamin Gilman programs, and the Young Leaders initiatives. The bill includes funding for a new 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.
- Central America: The bill provides $515 million for the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, which is $100 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $80 million above the President’s request, with conditions on human rights and governance similar to fiscal year 2018. Combined with prior year funding, 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 $15 million to protect and support civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalists who are threatened and attacked in foreign countries, which is $5 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
- 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. These agencies effectively contribute to U.S. national interests abroad and proposals to eliminate or consolidate them have not been justified.
- U.S. Partners and Allies: The bill provides $3.3 billion for military assistance for Israel consistent with the new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding; increases assistance for Georgia and Ukraine; and provides assistance equal to the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and above the President’s request for Jordan, Colombia, Tunisia, Indonesia, and other U.S. partners and allies.
- Countering Russian Influence Fund: The bill includes $300 million for the Countering Russian Influence Fund, which is $50 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level, to improve governance, facilitate economic development, and provide security assistance to countries threatened by Russian influence and aggression.
- Indo-Pacific Strategy: The bill includes $160 million in additional funding for the Indo-Pacific region to provide development, economic, and security assistance to expand U.S. partnerships and counter Chinese pressure in the region.
- Relief and Recovery Fund: The bill includes $250 million for the Relief and Recovery Fund to build on investments made in fiscal year 2018 to assist communities recently liberated or under threat from violent extremist organizations, including ISIS, in the Middle East and Africa.
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