Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2012 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2012 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill includes a total of $39.6 billion in regular discretionary funding, which is $8.6 billion or 18% below last year’s level. Included in these reductions are cuts back to the fiscal year 2008 levels or below for certain operations and assistance accounts. The bill also includes $7.6 billion designated as Global War on Terror funding, which is $1.1 billion below the President’s request.
The FY 2012 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations legislation contains funding for diplomatic operations and foreign assistance activities – including programs to promote security and stability in the developing world; activities to fight illegal drug trafficking and crime; and security assistance to U.S. strategic allies, including assistance for Israel. The bill also includes significant reforms to improve the oversight and management of precious tax dollars, and supports important policy provisions to ensure the respect for life around the world.
“This bill provides essential support to secure and stabilize some of the most critical areas of the world – including Iraq and Afghanistan. However, we have to be extraordinarily careful when using precious American tax dollars around the world, and must protect against wasteful spending and prevent these funds from falling into the wrong hands. This bill includes strong and significant oversight measures to keep a tight grip on the management of these funds, and helps ensure that each and every dollar is being spent wisely and for the benefit of the American people,” Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger echoed Rogers’ statement, saying:
“This bill reforms and refocuses the way we spend our foreign aid. We have established tough oversight and accountability measures that will make sure my constituents’ tax dollars are not wasted overseas while making sure we support our national security priorities and key allies. In this difficult geopolitical and economic climate, the American people deserve policies that are based on our principles.”
For the subcommittee draft text of the FY 2012 State and Foreign Operations Bill, please visit: /UploadedFiles/FY12-SFOPS-07-25_xml.pdf.
International Security Assistance – The bill provides $8 billion in discretionary funding for international security assistance, a decrease of $61 million from last year’s level and $167 million from the President’s request. This includes funds for international narcotics control, nonproliferation and anti-terrorism programs, peacekeeping operations, foreign military financing, and international military education and training. The bill fully funds the $3.075 billion commitment in the United States-Israel Memorandum of Understanding. It also supports security initiatives in Mexico, Colombia, and Central America to assist ongoing counter-narcotics and law enforcement efforts.
Bilateral Assistance – The legislation contains a total of $17.7 billion for bilateral economic assistance, a decrease of $3.5 billion below last year and $4.8 billion below the President’s request. This includes funding for global health programs, international disaster assistance, refugee assistance, the Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and various economic and democracy promotion programs.
Multilateral Assistance – The legislation provides $1.6 billion for multilateral assistance, a reduction of $729 million below last year and $2.1 billion below the President’s request. This includes significant cuts to many international organizations and programs, including the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility, and several other international financial institutions. In addition, the bill eliminates funding for the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund. The bill does not provide funding for the requested General Capital Increases for multilateral development banks, which remain unauthorized.
Export and Investment Programs – The bill provides $266 million for export assistance programs, a reduction of $84 million from the request. The bill also includes $1.5 million over fiscal year 2011 for the Export-Import Bank Inspector General to provide robust oversight over the agency. The Trade and Development Agency – which promotes U.S. trade interests abroad – is level funded at $50 million, the same as last year.
State Department Operations and Related Agencies – The bill contains a total of $11.9 billion in discretionary funding for operational costs of the State Department and related agencies – a decrease of $3.9 billion below last year’s level and a $3.1 billion below the President’s request. This includes funding for programs such as diplomatic and consular affairs, embassy security and operations, assessed contributions to international organizations, and international broadcasting. The bill also eliminates temporary pay raises for overseas officers.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Operations – The bill contains $1.04 billion for USAID – a reduction of $488 million from last year’s level and $705 million below the President’s request. The bill halts new hiring at USAID and stops expansion of facilities overseas associated with that hiring.
Global War on Terror – The bill includes Global War on Terror (GWOT) funding for efforts and activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, GWOT funds will support security forces and police previously funded by the Department of Defense. GWOT funds will also support civilian programs in support of the military’s counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan.
Increased Oversight and Management – The bill includes several provisions to increase oversight of taxpayer dollars and tighten the reins on the Administration’s management of programs, including:
- Direct Government Assistance – The bill includes layers of conditions on government-to-government assistance, including assessments, certifications, and annual reporting requirements.
- United Nations Reform – The bill provides no funding for the Human Rights Council, prohibits funds for UN organizations headed by terrorist countries, and withholds a portion of funds for the UN and international organizations until audits are made fully available to the United States Government and being published on a website.
- Multi-Year Funding Commitments – The legislation requires that the Administration justify in its budget request or notify the Congress before making public announcements of multi-year funding pledges.
- Inspectors General – The bill fully funds the requests for agency Inspector Generals who provide program and funding oversight.
- Funding Availability – The legislation reduces the period of availability of funds and requires more accurate reporting of how and when funds are spent.
Important Policy Provisions – The bill supports important policy provisions to ensure the respect for life around the globe. For example the bill:
- Reinstates Mexico City Policy, a policy prohibiting U.S. assistance to foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortion.
- Prohibits funding for the UN Population Fund, and caps population/reproductive health activities at the 2008 level.
- Maintains long-standing 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.
- Prohibits funding for needle exchange programs.