US House Appropriations Committee Chair Proposes USD9.7B Cut to 2011 Foreign Affairs Budget

House Republicans want to limit U.S. state and foreign operations spending for the rest of fiscal 2011 to USD46.95 billion, which is USD9.7 billion or 17 percent less than the budget requested by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Obama asked for USD56.64 million for state and foreign operations in his fiscal 2011 budget request. Meantime, the enacted budget for U.S. civilian international spending for 2010 was USD48.76 billion.

The 2011 limit was outlined by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, in instructions to the panel’s 12 subcommittees, which will be responsible for drafting specific appropriations bills. Rogers’ announcement follows the House Budget Committee’s release of an outline of its fiscal 2011 allocation guidelines.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, is set to file an allocation that will cap 2011 discretionary spending at USD1.055 trillion when Congress resumes its session next week. This limit is USD74 billion less than Obama’s 2011 budget request, which totals USD1.12 trillion.

Ryan’s allocation is pursuant to a resolution passed Jan. 25 by the Republican-led House to reduce nonsecurity spending to fiscal 2008 levels for the rest of fiscal 2011, which ends September.

The U.S. government is operating under a temporary continuing budget resolution agreed by Congress last year. Ryan’s proposed USD1.055 trillion appropriations limit is USD32 billion less than the spending level outlined in the resolution, which expires March 4.

The state and foreign operations appropriations subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), is expected to draft a spending plan based on Rogers’ proposed caps. This plan would not automatically take effect as it needs the approval of the full appropriations committee before being debated on the House floor. If passed by the House, which is controlled by the Republicans, the spending plan would be combined with a similar proposal that would have to be passed by the Senate, where the Democratic party still holds the majority.

As early as now, Senate Democrats have pledged to block the Republican proposal. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) dismissed the plan as “unworkable,” according to the Washington Post.

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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.