Republican-backed Cuts Could Cost State USD16B

A resolution approved by the Republican-led Congress on Jan. 25 to roll back nonsecurity spending to 2008 levels could cost the State Department some USD16 billion.

The Republican party defines nonsecurity spending as all expenditure aside from funding for defense, homeland security, military construction, and veterans. The Obama administration wants to include diplomacy and development to this list, according to an article by Josh Rogin of The Cable.

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As the House Appropriations Committee prepares to announce its budget-cutting plans next week, it acknowledges that its target amount of USD32.8 billion from 2008 does not reflect the USD8 billion in emergency foreign aid funding approved separately for fiscal 2008, David Rogers of the Politico reports.

Last year, the committee cut from a base of USD48.7 million, which covers a larger portion of appropriations related to Iraq and Afghanistan. These appropriations were previously “treated as emergency funds outside the normal budget caps,” according to Rogers.

“If adjustments are made at both ends, the better estimate of the gap between 2008 and 2010 appears to be a $14 billion reduction ― 26 percent. But that’s still small comfort for Obama ― and there’s no sign yet that the House will adjust its numbers accordingly,” Rogers explains.

House Republicans have been bent on putting the foreign affairs budget under the knife, with proposals to defund the U.S. Agency for International Development, and reduce finacing for the State Department and United Nations.

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The cuts also come at a time when the Obama administration is eyeing civilian-led efforts in post-war Iraq and now Afghanistan, where U.S. troops are expected to pull out soon.

As “high priorities” like Iraq are expected to obtain a larger share of dwindling State and foreign aid budgets, projects for refugees, climate change and food security, and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are at risk of securing “much less” resources, Rogers says.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.