June 22, 2016
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow.
The legislation targets funding to U.S. foreign policy priorities, including programs that will address instability around the world. The bill focuses funding on the protection of American embassies and consulates, and support for the security of U.S. allies and partners – particularly those in strategic and vulnerable areas, including countries in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and European countries facing Russian aggression. The bill also provides critical humanitarian aid to war-torn and impoverished areas around the globe and dedicates funds to address health threats overseas before they reach the United States. In addition, the legislation contains strong oversight measures and reductions to nonessential or lower-priority international programs to protect and save taxpayer dollars.
In total, the bill provides $52 billion in both regular discretionary and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. This total is $595 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $691 million below the President’s request for these programs. Within this amount, OCO funding totals $14.9 billion, equal to the fiscal year 2016 enacted level, which will support operations and assistance in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other areas of conflict and instability around the globe.
“Radical ideologies and threats to the American way of life continue to emerge around the globe, and it is essential that the United States continue a robust, multi-pronged plan to fight our enemies. This must include a strong national defense, increased homeland security, and effective diplomatic strategies,” Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This bill will responsibly fund our security and diplomatic activities to advance this goal, provide support to our allies, and ultimately make our world safer and more humane.”
State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger said:
“In an increasingly dangerous and rapidly changing world, this national security bill prioritizes programs to ensure the security of the United States and our allies. ISIL and other terrorist organizations are a constant threat to Americans and our way of life. At the same time, we see Iran providing support to terrorists, China attempting to expand its territory, Russia continuing to take an aggressive posture toward its neighbors, and North Korea behaving in a dangerously unpredictable way. That is why we must use all the tools we have available to assert American leadership – through a strong national defense, as well as by supporting effective diplomatic and development programs,” Chairwoman Granger said. “This bill prioritizes funding for embassy security, democracy assistance, our strategic partners such as Israel, Jordan, and Ukraine, and life-saving health and humanitarian programs. Further, the bill spends less than last year by terminating or scaling back lower-priority programs and redirects those funds to higher priorities that promote our national security.”
State Department Operations and Related Agencies – The bill contains a total of $16.1 billion in base and OCO funding for the operational costs of the State Department and related agencies, as well as diplomacy efforts to enhance peace and stability around the globe. This is a decrease of $182 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $772 million below the request.
Within this amount, the legislation provides the full amount requested for embassy security at $6.1 billion – $455 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. These funds will address needs at more than 275 diplomatic facilities overseas, including facility upgrades and security personnel as recommended in the Benghazi Accountability Review Board report.
To meet these and other needs, the bill reduces funding for assessed payments to the United Nations (UN) and international organizations by $611 million compared to the fiscal year 2016 enacted level.
International Security Assistance – The bill provides a total of $9.1 billion in base and OCO funding for international security assistance. This is $200 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $980 million above the President’s request.
Funds are included for international narcotics control and law enforcement activities, antiterrorism programs, nonproliferation programs, peacekeeping operations, and other critical international security efforts.
$420 million is included for antiterrorism programs, with a focus on assisting partners in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist groups. The bill also provides funds to help prevent devastating attacks on Americans and our allies and partners around the world through programs that fight illicit financing networks, bolster border and airport security, and stem the flow of foreign fighters joining terrorist groups.
In addition, the legislation provides security assistance to key allies and partners, including fully funding the $3.1 billion commitment to Israel. The bill rejects the reductions proposed by the President for Foreign Military Financing programs for Ukraine, Jordan, and Tunisia – continuing current levels. The bill also maintains robust funding for counter-narcotics and law enforcement efforts in Colombia, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Operations – The bill contains $1.6 billion for USAID and the USAID Office of Inspector General – an increase of $33 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $122 million below the request. This funding supports the proper management and oversight of development programs that provide stability in volatile regions and enhance U.S. presence in critical and strategic areas.
Bilateral Assistance – The legislation contains a total of $24.2 billion in base and OCO funding for bilateral assistance to foreign countries – an increase of $104 million from the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $149 million above the request. Within this amount, programs that support development assistance, global health, and humanitarian assistance are prioritized.
Refugee funding is maintained at the fiscal year 2016 level of $3.1 billion. Within that amount, the refugee admissions program is returned to the fiscal year 2015 level, and funding is redirected to overseas refugee programs.
In addition, the legislation rejects the President’s proposed reductions to programs that will help eradicate polio, combat tuberculosis, and provide clean water and sanitation. The bill also includes a $200 million dedicated funding stream to promote global health security and address health threats overseas.
Multilateral Assistance – The legislation provides $1.7 billion for assistance to foreign countries through international organizations and banks, a cut of $877 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $876 million below the President’s request.
In addition to prohibiting funding for the Green Climate 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, Savings, and Policy Provisions – The bill continues robust requirements to increase program oversight, improve management, and tighten the reins on taxpayer dollars. Some of these provisions include:
- Modernizing security assistance – The bill includes not less than $5 million to reform programs that assist the militaries of our allies and partners, including those engaged in the fight against ISIL, to ensure they receive assistance in a timely and efficient manner.
- Records management – To address problems with record-keeping, transparency, and responsiveness at the State Department and USAID, the bill:
- Prohibits funds to use private email accounts or servers;
- Fully funds the request to ensure that Freedom of Information Act requests receive responses in a timely manner; and
- Withholds $10 million until the State Department submits updates on records management requirements in Inspector General and other reports.
- Guantanamo Bay – The bill requires a notification to Congress if the State Department commits to providing assistance to foreign governments that 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.
- UN Reform – The bill provides no funding for the Human Rights Council unless the Secretary of State determines that it is in the national security 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 public and whistleblower protections are in place. No funds are provided for major construction projects for the UN.
- Afghanistan – The recommendation includes conditions on assistance for transparency, accountability, and other requirements, including prohibiting funds for new major infrastructure projects.
- 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 if Egypt sustains its strategic partnership with the United States and adheres to the peace treaty with Israel.
- Palestinian Authority (PA) –The bill maintains restrictions on the PA, including prohibiting funding if there is a Palestinian government formed through an agreement with Hamas or if the Palestinians are not acting to counter incitement. The bill also includes a provision restricting Palestinians’ representation in the U.S. if they initiate or actively support an International Criminal Court investigation against Israel.
- Ukraine and other former Soviet Union States/Central and Eastern Europe – The bill maintains the fiscal year 2016 level ($930 million) in economic aid to countries in Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia, which will help countries such as Ukraine to respond to instability caused by Russian aggression. The bill includes up to $663 million for Ukraine.
- Arms Trade Treaty – The legislation prohibits funding to implement the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
- Coal – The 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.
For the draft subcommittee text of the FY 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, please visit: /UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2017-StateForOp-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf