House Panel to Vote on 2012 Foreign Aid Funding Cuts

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. Photo by: U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs

The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee is set to discuss on Wednesday a 2012 foreign aid and international spending authorization bill that would cut funding for the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and related programs.

The final version of the committee’s reform proposal is not yet available but a draft version of the bill leaked online includes provisions to reduce funding for a new U.S. Agency for International Development office and place conditions on the security assistance the U.S sends to Pakistan and the Palestinian Authority. This draft version is reportedly close to the final text of the reform proposal HCFA will discuss July 20.

Here are some proposals included in the draft version of the bill:

  • Make funding from the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 conditional on the U.S. Secretary of State’s certification that Pakistan fully supports U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

  • Restrict security assistance for the Palestinian Authority unless the U.S. president can certify that no Hamas member is involved in the PA, among other conditions.

  • Provide $1.52 billion for USAID’s operating expenses.

  • Limit U.S. bilateral economic assistance to $21.21 billion.

  • Allocate $900 million for the Millennium Challenge Corp.

  • Require MCC to cut funding for a country the year after it graduates from low-income to lower-middle-income status.

  • Establish a Tibet Section in the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, and eventually set up a consulate in Tibet focused on human rights and political, social and economic development.

  • Structure aid programs with an eye on establishing trade relationships.

  • Reduce funding for USAID’s Office of Budget and Resource Management, which was established in 2010.

  • Prohibit any funding for organizations promoting or performing abortion overseas, revoking an executive order by U.S. President Barack Obama.

  • Require the administration to report on police training activities around the world.

  • Instruct the Peace Corps to collaborate with the office of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to ensure the safety of volunteers and prevent sexual assault.

The bill is not likely to become law anytime soon, even if the full HCFA approves the final version on Wednesday, because it still needs approval of the full House of Representatives. It also needs to be reconciled with appropriations language approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which will unlikely agree to steep funding cuts and revoking Obama policies.

The SFRC has yet to schedule a committee hearing to discuss its authorization bill.

Meantime, a Republican senator, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, issued a document outlining his recommendations on how the U.S. government can save more than $9 trillion over the next 10 years. As part of the savings, Coburn seeks to trim some $192.12 billion from U.S. international affairs and foreign aid accounts.

>> USAID Gets a New Budget Office

>> House Panel Hears Peace Corps Overseas Volunteers’ Testimonies on Safety

>> Obama Unveils 2012 Budget Request; Foreign Aid Largely Spared from Cuts

>> Ros-Lehtinen Outlines Aid Cuts to Obama’s 2012 Budget Request 

>> US Congress Weighs Cutting Aid to Pakistan

>> Fatah, Hamas Reconcile: How Will the Deal Affect Foreign Aid to Palestinian Territories?

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About the author

  • 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.