The dome of the U.S. Capitol, which houses the U.S. Congress. Photo by: International Committee of the Red Cross / CC BY-NC-SA

EDITOR’S NOTE: Where did the international affairs budget end up in the recently passed FY 2014 budget resolution by the U.S. Senate? Tod Preston, government relations director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, gives the breakdown, outlining what he calls “funding anomalies” in the continuing resolution.

Senate passes FY 2014 budget resolution; amendments to cut international affairs budget defeated

The Senate early Saturday morning passed the FY 2014 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 8) by a largely party-line vote of 50-49. As reported previously, the Senate’s budget provides $45.6 billion in base funding for the international affairs budget — 9.6 percent above FY 2013 sequestered levels and 18 percent higher than the House Budget Resolution.

Of the more than 70 amendments considered during the marathon “vote-a-rama,” several had implications for the International Affairs Budget. Defeated amendments included:

  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) amendment to cut the international affairs budget by $15 billion (33 percent) — Failed 26-72;

  • Sen. Paul substitute that would balance the budget in five years and freeze foreign aid at $5 billion — Failed 16-81;

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) amendment to reduce aid to Egypt — Failed 25-74;

  • Sen. Cruz amendment to prohibit funds for the United Nations while any member nation forces involuntary abortions — Failed 38-61.

You can find a vote tally of these defeated amendments here. Noteworthy among the Senators who supported the Paul amendment were some who had previously opposed such measures, including Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

During the vote-a-rama, there was little said in either support or opposition to most amendments due to strict time limits for debate. However, in opposing Sen. Paul’s amendment to cut the international affairs budget by $15 billion, Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said, “We could put more funding toward transportation projects and fund some good projects but not without making cuts to other vital programs. The amendment before us will make unnecessary and deep cuts to foreign aid and energy programs.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) urged opposition to the Sen. Cruz amendment to prohibit funding to the U.N., saying, “Instead of punishing the country that is carrying out the bad policy [this amendment] would impact funding for peacekeeping operations in the Golan Heights, in Darfur, in Congo; funding for Syrian refugees, which now exceeds [$]1 million and is threatening the political and economic instability of Jordan and Lebanon; funding to the International Atomic Energy Agency that we need to go after Iran.”

Thank you to all who took action to defeat cutting amendments to the international affairs budget.  

House passes FY 2014 budget resolution

The House on Thursday passed its FY 2014 budget resolution (H. Con. Res. 25) by a vote of 221-207 after rejecting several alternative budgets. Ten Republicans voted against the measure, with no Democrats supporting.

The House budget provides $38.7 billion in base funding for the international affairs budget — a seven percent cut from current sequestered levels and 25 percent below FY 2010 levels. During the debate, alternative budget resolutions providing varying levels of funding for the International Affairs Budget were considered but all defeated, including those by:

  • House Democrats, sponsored by Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), which provided $45.6 funding for the international affairs budget — Rejected by a vote of 165-253.

  • The Republican Study Committee, sponsored by Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.), provided an estimated $37 billion for the international affairs budget — Rejected by a vote of 104-132.

  • The Congressional Black Caucus, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), provided $49.6 billion for the international affairs budget — Rejected by a vote of 105-305.

  • The Congressional Progressive Caucus, sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), provided an estimated $56.6 billion for the international affairs budget — Rejected by a vote of 84-327.

Congress clears a full-year FY 2013 CR

On Thursday, Congress sent to the president a full-year FY 2013 continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through the remainder of the fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2013). The Senate passed the measure 73-26 on Wednesday and the House adopted the Senate bill the next day on a vote of 318-109.  The measure represents about a five percent cut to FY 2012 spending levels for international affairs, due to sequestration cuts to nondefense discretionary spending. The President is expected to sign the bill ahead of the March 27 expiration of the current CR.

As reported last week, this final CR contains several important funding differences from the earlier House-passed version. While each provided $41.5 billion in base international affairs appropriations and $10.6 billion in war funding (OCO), the final CR contained numerous changes added by the Senate — known in CR terms as “anomalies” — that increased funding for some accounts and reduced others.

Funding anomalies enacted in the FY 2013 CR

Major increases include the following:

  • Embassy security: increases $1.2 billion (77 percent) over FY 2012.

  • Humanitarian assistance: the International Disaster Assistance and Migration and Refugee Assistance accounts increase by $1.3 billion (47 percent) from FY 2012.

  • Global health: increases by $300 million, although due to sequestration, levels remain below FY 2012.

  • Development assistance: increases by seven percent compared with FY 2012, through a transfer from the Economic Support Fund account.

  • Multilateral development banks: additional funds provided for the Global Environment Facility, the International Development Association, and the Inter-American Development Bank keep these organizations funded slightly above FY 2012, despite sequestration.

  • Contributions to international peacekeeping: increases $76 million (four percent) above FY 2012.

In order to make these increases budget neutral, the enacted CR cuts in several areas:

  • Diplomatic and consular programs: decreases $1.7 billion (down 15 percent) below FY 2012, plus a rescission of $1.1 billion of FY 2012 funds for State Department operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.

  • Assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia: no funds are provided for this account, although authority is granted to allocate ESF resources for these countries.

  • Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund: no funds are provided compared with $850 million in FY 2012.

  • Export-Import Bank: rescinds $400 million from previous year’s unexpended balances.

Edited for style and republished with permission from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Read the original article.

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