2013 foreign operations bill up for vote in Senate committee

U.S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah is welcomed by young girls in Pakistan. The Senate Appropriations subcommittee has approved a $1.4 billion funding for USAID operating expenses. Photo by: USAID Pakistan

The Senate Appropriations Committee is likely to consider today, May 24, an international affairs spending bill that includes a new support fund for Middle East and North African countries and continues conditions on U.S. aid to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The bill was approved May 22 by the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations. It proposes $52.1 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. State DepartmentU.S. Agency for International Development and other international programs. This budget is $1.2 billion below fiscal 2012 levels and $2.6 billion less than President Barack Obama’s requested budget for 2013.

But despite slashing billions off Obama’s request, the Senate allocation is still some $4 billion more than the approved House version of the bill, which amounts to $48.3 billion. The Senate version provides more funding for USAID operations, the Economic Support Fund and contributions to international organizations, among other areas.

Here are key allocations proposed in the Senate version of the spending bill:

  • $11.4 billion for administrative expenses of the U.S. Department of State.

  • $1.6 billion for assessed contributions to international organizations.

  • $1.4 billion for USAID operating expenses.

  • $8.4 billion for U.S. global health programs.

  • $898.2 million for the Millennium Challenge Corp.

  • $1.3 billion for international disaster assistance.

  • $1 billion for the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund.

  • $3.3 billion for multilateral aid.

  • $5.1 billion for the Economic Support Fund.

  • $1.1 billion for Iraq. This excludes support for the country’s police development program, which the bill does not fund in any form.

  • $3.5 billion for Afghanistan.

  • $1 billion aid for Pakistan, provided existing conditions on U.S. aid to the country are met and continued.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.