June 12, 2018
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2019 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development, and other international activities.
The bill will target funding to advance U.S. diplomatic priorities, increase global security, assist America’s allies, and provide assistance for those displaced due to manmade crises and natural disasters.
In total, the bill provides $54 billion in both regular discretionary and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. This total is the same as the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Within this amount, OCO funding totals $8 billion and supports operations and assistance in areas of instability and conflict, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and other countries in the Middle East.
“This bill provides funding to ensure that America remains secure and that our diplomats and allies around the world have the tools they need to increase stability during this volatile time of international threats and unease,” Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “It will help advance peaceful and effective solutions to the many rising challenges facing the nation and the globe – including terrorism, threats from nuclear and chemical weapons, and current and emerging humanitarian crisis.”
“In the face of unprecedented challenges around the globe from terrorism and violent extremism, transnational crime and drugs, and humanitarian crises, I am proud that this legislation continues to strengthen our diplomatic and development tools – core components of our nation’s security framework,” said State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman Hal Rogers. “Together with our unmatched Armed Forces, our dedicated public servants and their partners help the United States lead by example and build a foundation for peace all over the world. In particular, this bill prioritizes funding for embassy security, combatting drug trafficking, global health and humanitarian assistance, and countering Russian aggression while maintaining vigilant oversight of every dollar spent.”
State Department Operations and Related Agencies – The bill contains a total of $16.2 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 $163 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
Within this amount, the legislation provides $6.1 billion for embassy security, the same as the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and more than $1 billion above the request. 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 and voluntary payments to United Nations (UN) organizations and other international bodies by $228 million compared to the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
International Security Assistance – The bill provides a total of $9.3 billion in base and OCO funding for international security assistance. This is $239 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
Funds are included for international narcotics control and law enforcement activities, antiterrorism programs, nonproliferation programs, peacekeeping operations, and other critical international security efforts. Antiterrorism programs that provide counterterrorism law enforcement training to partner countries are funded at $360 million. The bill also provides funding to assist foreign countries to detect, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist financial networks and bolster border and airport security.
The legislation provides security assistance to key allies and partners. The bill fully funds the $3.3 billion commitment to Israel, beginning the first year of the 10-year memorandum of understanding between the United States and Israel. The bill also continues strong support for Foreign Military Financing programs for Ukraine, Georgia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia – at or above current levels.
The bill maintains robust funding for counter-narcotics and law enforcement efforts in Colombia, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, and maintains funding to combat cybercrime.
The bill supports the President’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand by increasing funding to help Mexico secure its borders, combat poppy cultivation, and address heroin and synthetic drug production; increases funding to support precursor chemical control; and increases funding for global demand reduction programs. The legislation directs the Secretary of State to develop an international diplomatic and assistance strategy to stop the flow of opioids into the United States. The legislation also fully funds the request to disrupt transnational criminal organizations, including those involved in the trafficking of heroin and fentanyl.
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 $3.6 million from the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. The legislation also includes oversight measures to ensure the proper management of development programs and the appropriate use of U.S. funds.
Bilateral Economic Assistance – The legislation contains a total of $25.5 billion in base and OCO funding for bilateral economic assistance in foreign countries – a decrease of $289 million from the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This funding is targeted to activities to provide stability in volatile regions and enhance U.S. presence in critical and strategic areas. Within this amount, programs that support development assistance, global health, and humanitarian assistance are prioritized, as well as economic support for key partners like Jordan. In addition, the bill includes $8.7 billion for global health programs, including critical funding for global health security and emerging health threats.
International Financial Institutions – The legislation provides $1.5 billion for assistance to foreign countries through international organizations and banks, equal to the the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
The bill does not include funding for several controversial or unnecessary programs, including:
- The Green Climate Fund,
- International debt relief,
- The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and
- 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:
- Syria – The bill allows funding to be used for non-lethal aid in areas not controlled by the Assad regime. Oversight and vetting of recipients is required, and Congress must be notified before any funds are made available.
- 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.
- Afghanistan – The bill continues conditions on assistance for transparency, accountability, and other requirements, including prohibiting funds for new major infrastructure projects.
- Palestinian Authority –The bill maintains restrictions on the Palestinian Authority (PA), including a requirement to reduce funds to the Palestinians by an amount equivalent to that expended by the PA as payments to prisoners who committed acts of terrorism; prohibiting funding if there is a Palestinian government formed through an agreement with Hamas; and prohibiting funding 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.
- Countering Russian Influence and Aggression – The bill increases assistance for Ukraine and maintains funding for Georgia to respond to instability caused by Russian aggression and provides $250 million for the Countering Russian Influence Fund authorized by Congress.
- Records management – To address problems with record-keeping, transparency, and responsiveness at the State Department and USAID, the bill continues the:
- Prohibition on funds being used to support private email accounts or servers; and
- Augmented funding for Freedom of Information Act activities to ensure requests receive responses in a timely manner.
- Guantanamo Bay – The report directs the Secretary of State to notify Congress if the State Department commits to providing assistance to foreign governments that accept Guantanamo detainees.
- Assistance to Foreign Governments and Local Organizations – The bill requires certain conditions 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 and ensures integrity in the election of its members. The bill also prohibits funds for UN organizations headed by countries that support terrorism. The bill withholds a portion of funds for the UN and international organizations until transparency and accountability measures are met, including by enforcing restrictions on first-class and business-class travel. The bill also allows the Secretary of State to withhold up to 5% of a contribution from a UN organization that has taken an official position against U.S. interests or U.S. allies, including Israel.
- 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 and Export-Import 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:
- Includes the President’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy prohibiting all global health 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 text of the legislation, please visit: