Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
Legislation continues essential security efforts to protect Americans and U.S. interests abroad, funds critical humanitarian aid, and reduces spending for lower-priority international programs
Jun 16 -
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.
The bill totals $48.3 billion in both regular discretionary and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. This total is $708 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $277 million below the President’s request for these programs. Within this amount, OCO is funded at $5.9 billion and will support operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as stabilization and humanitarian efforts in areas of conflict around the globe.
In order to promote American interests abroad, the bill prioritizes funding on embassy security and international security assistance, aid for refugees, combatting human trafficking, and programs to promote democracy and stability in areas such as the Middle East, Ukraine, and Latin America. In order to meet all of these priorities, the legislation makes difficult choices to eliminate, reduce, or delay funding for other international programs.
“We live in a time of global uncertainty and instability, and it is vital to our national security and well-being that the United States maintains a leadership role in the world. We must prioritize our funding and have done so by maintaining critical diplomatic efforts, supporting continued humanitarian aid, and protecting the safety and security of Americans abroad, while cutting lower-priority programs or those that we simply cannot afford at this time,” Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger said:
“This bill focuses on programs that keep the United States and our allies secure while anticipating continued change around the world with a special focus on the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America. This is a national security bill that prioritizes funding for embassy security, democracy assistance, our strategic partners such as Israel, and life-saving health and refugee programs,” Chairwoman Granger said. “In addition, the bill focuses on combating human trafficking especially in high-risk areas such as Central America, and combats wildlife poaching which has been a priority for this subcommittee since I took over as Chair. Further, the bill spends less than last year by terminating or scaling back some programs in order to fund the highest priorities that are in our national security interest.”
The bill prioritizes funding for diplomatic operations, foreign assistance, and security activities. This includes maintaining the fiscal year 2014 level for embassy and diplomatic security – meeting new needs identified after the Benghazi terrorist attack. In addition, the bill invests in security and stability activities in the Middle East – including support for our key allies such as Israel and Jordan – and efforts in Latin America to fight drug-trafficking and crime before they reach our borders.
To meet these and other priorities such as democracy promotion, health, and humanitarian needs, the bill eliminates funding for several programs – including the Strategic Climate Fund and the Clean Technology Fund – and reduces spending in other lower-priority areas.
International Security Assistance – The bill provides a total of $8.5 billion in base and OCO funding for international security assistance. This is the same as the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $696 million above the President’s request.
This includes funds for international narcotics control, anti-terrorism programs, nonproliferation programs, peacekeeping operations, and other critical international security efforts that help keep Americans and our international partners safe at home and abroad. In addition, the legislation provides security assistance to key allies, including fully funding the $3.1 billion commitment to Israel. It also rejects reductions proposed by the Administration for counternarcotic and law enforcement efforts in Mexico, Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Export and Investment Programs – The bill supports export and investment opportunities for U.S. companies abroad, including through financing provided by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Export-Import Bank. This funding will help U.S. businesses stay competitive in the global marketplace.
State Department Operations and Related Agencies – The bill contains a total of $15.6 billion in base and contingency funding for operational costs of the State Department and related agencies – a decrease of $128 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $926 million below the request. Within this amount, the legislation provides the full amount requested for embassy security at more than 275 diplomatic facilities overseas, including facility upgrades and security personnel as recommended in the Benghazi Accountability Review Board report. The bill also includes funding above the President’s request to bolster State Department efforts to address security and maintenance backlogs. To help meet these needs, the bill does not provide requested increases for assessed payments to the United Nations and international organizations.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Operations – The bill contains $1.3 billion for USAID – an increase of $19 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $237 million below the request – for the administration of development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. Additional funds above last year are provided to enhance oversight and information technology improvements that are necessary to ensure proper use of agency resources and taxpayer dollars. This total also includes $65 million in OCO funding for USAID operations in Afghanistan.
Bilateral Assistance – The legislation contains a total of $21.8 billion in base and OCO funding for bilateral assistance to foreign countries – a decrease of $270 million from the fiscal year 2014 enacted level but $1.1 billion above the request. Within this amount, programs that support development, global health, and humanitarian assistance are prioritized. In addition, the legislation rejects the President’s proposed reductions to programs that combat HIV/AIDS, eradicate polio, and provide clean water and sanitation.
Multilateral Assistance – The legislation provides $2.4 billion for multilateral assistance to foreign countries, a reduction of $518 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $746 million below the President’s request. In addition to eliminating funding for the Strategic Climate Fund and Clean Technology Fund, the bill does not fund debt relief, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Increased Oversight and Policy Provisions – The bill continues robust oversight requirements to increase program oversight, improve management, and tighten the reins on the use of taxpayer dollars. Some of these provisions include:
- Guantanamo Bay – The bill requires a new notification to Congress if the State Department commits to providing assistance to foreign governments who accept Guantanamo detainees. Additionally, the bill requires regular reporting to Congress on any negotiations related to detainee transfers.
- Assistance to Foreign Governments and Local Organizations – The bill requires certain conditions to be met before the Administration can give funds directly to foreign governments and local organizations.
- Multi-Year Funding Commitments – The legislation includes congressional oversight requirements before the Administration can make multi-year funding commitments to foreign countries or international organizations.
- United Nations Reform – The bill provides no funding for the Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State determines that it is both in the national interest and the Council stops its anti-Israel agenda. The bill also prohibits funds for UN organizations headed by countries that support terrorism, and withholds a portion of funds for the UN and international organizations until financial audits are fully accessible to the United States Government and the public.
- Afghanistan – The recommendation continues to reduce civilian personnel and programs that the State Department and USAID support in Afghanistan, and prohibits assistance to the Government of Afghanistan until there is a bilateral security agreement.
- Pakistan – The legislation withholds economic and security assistance unless the Government of Pakistan cooperates with the United States on counterterrorism efforts and other issues.
- Egypt – The bill continues conditions on economic and security assistance for the Government of Egypt. No funds will be provided unless Egypt sustains its strategic partnership with the United States and adheres to the peace treaty with Israel. Other conditions are included to support Egypt’s democratic transition.
- Palestinian Authority –The bill tightens a restriction in current law to prohibit funding if there is a Palestinian government formed through an agreement with Hamas.
- Ukraine and other former Soviet Union States/Central and Eastern Europe – The bill provides $215 million above the request for security and democracy programs to respond to aggression toward Ukraine and for other countries in the region.
- Syria – The bill allows funds to be used only for non-lethal aid. Oversight and vetting of recipients is required, and Congress must be notified before any funds are made available.
- Arms Trade Treaty – The legislation prohibits funding to implement the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
- Coal – The Committee bill overrides the anti-coal regulations of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank, and World Bank, and allows the financing of coal-fired and other power generation projects by U.S. companies overseas. This provision will bolster U.S. job creation and ensure quality, cost-effective technology for developing and other nations
Protecting Life – The bill supports important policy provisions to ensure the respect for life around the globe. For example, the bill:
- Reinstates the Mexico City Policy, a policy prohibiting U.S. assistance to foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions;
- Prohibits funding for UNFPA, and caps family planning and reproductive health programs at $461 million, the fiscal year 2008 funding level; and
- Maintains longstanding 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.