Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2016 State and Foreign Operations Bill
Legislation will advance U.S. security abroad, support humanitarian aid, and cut lower-priority international programs to save tax dollars
June 2, 2015 -
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2016 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.
The legislation funds the State Department and foreign assistance – prioritizing funding for American security efforts abroad, as well as critical humanitarian aid to areas facing war, conflict, and instability. The bill also supports activities to increase stability and security in areas such as the Middle East, Ukraine, and Latin America, and targets funds to embassy security, global health, refugee, and democracy programs. In order to make these focused investments, the bill reduces funds in nonessential or lower-priority areas.
In total, the bill provides $47.8 billion in both regular discretionary and Global War on Terror (GWOT) funding. This total is $1.4 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $6.1 billion below the President’s request for these programs. Within this amount, GWOT funding totals $7.3 billion – $1.9 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – to support operations and programs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, to provide emergency humanitarian relief, and to promote counterterrorism and stabilization efforts in critical areas around the globe.
“The United States plays the central role in global stability. Our security, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts not only support our allies around the world, but will help protect our nation against current and future threats,” Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This bill targets funding to these critical endeavors – bolstering the fight against terror, strengthening our allies, helping innocent lives facing conflict and strife, and protecting our democracy, our people, and our way of life.”
State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger said:
“This legislation is first and foremost a national security bill. We live in an increasingly dangerous world where terrorist groups threaten the United States, our allies and partners, and our way of life. We see Russia and China continuing to assert territorial ambitions against its neighbors, and the threat of a nuclear Iran and its support and financing of terrorists is real,” Chairwoman Granger said. “The United States must do more to lead on the world’s stage. This bill addresses challenges head-on and demonstrates our commitment to programs that promote global security and American prosperity.”
The bill prioritizes funding for security activities around the world. This includes activities in the Middle East, 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. Also included in the bill is $5.6 billion – a $173 million increase above the fiscal year 2015 level – for embassy and diplomatic security to address new needs identified after the Benghazi terrorist attack.
To meet these and other priorities, the bill eliminates funding for several programs – including the Green Climate Fund, Strategic Climate Fund, and the Clean Technology Fund. The bill also includes no funding or authority for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
International Security Assistance – The bill provides a total of $8.6 billion –$7 billion in base funding and $1.6 billion in GWOT funding – for international security assistance. This is an increase of $165 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and the same level as the President’s request.
This includes funds for anti-terrorism programs, nonproliferation programs, peacekeeping operations, international narcotics control, and other critical international security efforts that help keep Americans and our international partners safe. The bill also targets funds to bolster efforts against terrorist threats around the world, providing $319 million – $100 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – for anti-terrorism programs. In addition, the legislation provides security assistance to key allies, including fully funding the $3.1 billion commitment to Israel, and prioritizes counter-narcotics and law enforcement efforts in Mexico, Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean.
State Department Operations and Related Agencies – The bill contains $15.8 billion – $14 billion in base funding and $1.8 billion in GWOT funding – for the State Department and related agencies. This level is $1.6 billion below the President’s request and $132.5 million above the fiscal year 2015 level. 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. To make these investments, the bill freezes assessed payments and eliminates voluntary contributions to the United Nations and international organizations.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Operations – The bill contains $1.1 billion for USAID – a decrease of $93 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $302 million below the request. This total also includes $65 million – the requested level – in GWOT funding for USAID operations in Afghanistan to ensure proper monitoring of development projects. In addition, the bill provides $232.6 million – $41.8 million above the fiscal year 2015 level – to enhance oversight and to address security requirements at USAID.
Bilateral Assistance – The legislation contains a total of $21.5 billion – $17.6 billion in base and $3.9 billion in GWOT funding – for bilateral assistance to foreign countries. This is a decrease of $863 million from the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1.9 billion below the request. Within this amount, programs that support development, global health, and critical humanitarian assistance are prioritized and maintained at the fiscal year 2015 level. In addition, the legislation rejects the President’s proposed reductions to programs that combat HIV/AIDS, eradicate polio, and provide clean water and sanitation. The Economic Support Fund is reduced by $823 million from the fiscal year 2015 level.
Multilateral Assistance – The legislation provides $1.4 billion in base funding for multilateral assistance to foreign countries, a reduction of $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $2 billion below the President’s request. The bill does not fund the Green Climate Fund, Strategic Climate Fund, Clean Technology Fund, debt relief, the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Export and Investment Programs – The bill does not extend the authorization of the Export-Import Bank. If an authorization is not in effect during fiscal year 2016, funds may not be made available for new loans and other financing.
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 maintains a requirement that the State Department must notify Congress if it commits to providing assistance to foreign governments who accept Guantanamo detainees. The bill adds a new requirement for regular reporting to Congress on any negotiations related to detainee transfers.
- State Department Oversight – The bill withholds 15 percent of State Department’s operational funds until requirements related to proper management of Freedom of Information Act and electronic communications are met.
- 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 reports that it is in the national security interest of the United States, and that 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 support for civilian personnel and programs of the State Department and USAID in Afghanistan and requires a spend plan and prior notification of the Committee before funds are spent.
- 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 provides economic and security assistance to the Government of Egypt, only if it continues to sustain its strategic partnership with the United States and adheres to the peace treaty with Israel. Reporting requirements are included regarding Egypt’s democratic transition.
- Palestinian Authority –The bill tightens a restriction in current law prohibiting funding to the Palestinian Authority if its government is formed through an agreement with Hamas and enhances conditions on the Palestinians having representation in the U.S.
- Ukraine – The bill provides not less than $524 million for assistance for Ukraine. The bill includes language restricting assistance to any country that has taken affirmative steps to support the Russian Federation annexation of Crimea.
- Russia – The bill prohibits assistance to the government of the Russian Federation.
- Syria – The bill allows funds to be used for non-lethal aid. Oversight and vetting of recipients is required, and Congress must be notified before any funds are made available.
- Cuba – The bill includes a prohibition on funds for an embassy or other diplomatic facility in Cuba, beyond what was in existence prior to the President’s December announcement proposing changes to the U.S.-Cuba policy. It also restricts funds to facilitate the opening of a Cuban embassy in the U.S., increases democracy assistance and international broadcasting to Cuba, and provides direction to the Secretary of State on denying the issuance of visas to members of the Cuban military and the Communist party.
- Arms Trade Treaty – The legislation prohibits funding to implement the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
- Iran – The bill includes reporting requirements on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, implementing sanctions against Iran, and Iran’s compliance with the existing agreement on their nuclear program and any successor agreements.
- Central America – The bill supports the Central America Regional Security Initiative and requires a funding strategy, a spend plan, and progress reports on such efforts. The legislation also requires that assistance be suspended if Central American countries are not making progress on key aspects of addressing the crisis of unaccompanied children coming to the United States.
Protecting U.S. Jobs– The legislation permanently overrides anti-coal regulations of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Export-Import Bank, and the World Bank, and allows the financing of coal-fired and other power generation projects by U.S. companies overseas. These provisions will bolster U.S. job creation and ensure high-quality, cost-effective energy technology is available to developing countries and other nations.
Safeguarding 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.
For the draft text of the bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-StateForOp-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf