Week ending September 8, 2017
H.R.3362 – Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2018
From the bill report:
The Committee recommends a total of $8,609,029,000 for the activities of the Department of State in fiscal year 2018. Of the total amount provided, $8,450,129,000 is derived from discretionary funds and $158,900,000 is mandatory spending. Additional funds are provided under title VIII.
The Committee recommendation for fiscal year 2018 for activities under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs is $47,364,000,000 in new discretionary budget authority, which is $5,707,000,000 below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and is $6,842,174,000 above the fiscal year 2018 request. Within the total funding provided, the recommendation includes $12,019,000,000 in title VIII for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism.
From the Congressional Research Service:
Provides FY2018 appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs.
Provides appropriations to the State Department for:
Administration of Foreign Affairs,
International Organizations, and
Provides appropriations for Related Agencies and Related Programs, including:
the Broadcasting Board of Governors,
the Asia Foundation,
the U.S. Institute of Peace,
the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue Trust Fund,
the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Program,
the Israeli Arab Scholarship Program, and
the National Endowment for Democracy.
Provides appropriations for Other Commissions, including:
the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad,
the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom,
the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe,
the Congressional-Executive Commission on the People’s Republic of China, and
the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Provides appropriations for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Provides appropriations for Bilateral Economic Assistance to:
the State Department;
Independent Agencies, including the Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Inter-American Foundation, and the U.S. African Development Foundation; and the Department of the Treasury.
Provides appropriations to the State Department and the President for International Security Assistance.
Provides appropriations to International Financial Institutions for Multilateral Assistance.
Provides appropriations for Export and Investment Assistance to:
the Export-Import Bank of the United States,
the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and
the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Provides appropriations to specified accounts for Overseas Contingency Operations.
Sets forth permissible and prohibited uses for funds provided by this and other appropriations Acts.
From the bill report:
United States economic and security interests are affected by long-standing challenges and emerging crises throughout the world. From continued chaos sown by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS); Russian aggression in Europe and Eurasia; renewed efforts by the Taliban to destabilize Afghanistan; conflict, disease, and the threat of famine in parts of Africa and Yemen; increased provocation by North Korea; and sophisticated criminal networks running drugs and fueling corruption in America’s own backyard, now is not the time for the United States to back down from global engagement and its leadership role abroad. The Committee firmly believes that strategic investments in diplomacy and development, along with a strong national defense, are the essential components for addressing these challenges and protecting America’s national security. Military power alone cannot solve all these problems, especially over the long term. Advancing United States national interests also requires effective diplomatic engagement and foreign assistance.
However, the Committee recognizes that resources are limited, that the nation’s debt is a weight on the economy and on future generations, and that spending must be curtailed in a responsible manner. The Committee supports steps to reduce waste, inefficiency, and duplication in agency operations and programs funded in this Act, and efforts to press other nations and donors to more equitably share in the global responsibility to defeat terrorism, support stabilization, promote development and good governance, and respond to humanitarian crises. The Committee is concerned, however, that the magnitude of the reductions proposed for United States diplomatic and development operations and programs in the fiscal year 2018 request would be counterproductive to the economic and security interests of the nation and would undermine relationships with key partners and allies around the globe. The Committee recommendation, therefore, proposes to reduce spending in a manner that balances the need to responsibly allocate federal resources while protecting United States national interests.
(Full text of H.R. 3362 at congress.gov)
Sponsor: Rep. Rogers, Harold [R-KY-5] (Introduced 07/24/2017)
VOTES and FLOOR ACTION
Motion to recommit:
Text of the motion:
COST AND IMPACT
Cost to the taxpayers: Data not available
Pay-as-you-go requirements: Data not available
Regulatory and Other Impact: Data not available
Dynamic Scoring: Data not available
Tax Complexity: Not applicable to this bill.
Earmark Certification: Data not available
Duplication of programs: Data not available
Direct Rule-Making: Data not available
Advisory Committee Statement: Data not available
Budget Authority: Data not available
Constitutional Authority: Assumed.
The Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill supports the diplomatic and development efforts critical to maintaining U.S. global leadership and protecting our country’s national security.
Investments in this bill provide the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other agencies the resources to help reduce global poverty, strengthen democratic political systems, and create greater political and economic stability.
Disease, disaster, terrorism and economic strife around the world threaten the security, safety, and well-being of Americans at home and abroad. A strong and capable State Department and USAID with well-staffed embassies and missions effectively represent our interests in this interconnected world; oversee assistance programs; and build bridges with host governments, civil societies, and the private sector that are vital to our national security and economic interests. The investments in this bill are often the best means to ensure our nation does not have to pursue military solutions that are costlier in both lives and treasure.
This is why the cuts sustained in the bill must be restored through bipartisan negotiations to raise the caps under the Budget Control Act for Defense and Non-Defense bills. Our commitment to our men and women in uniform, senior citizens, working mothers, and citizens overseas cannot be met under the current budget caps.
As the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process developed, the Committee Democrats were united in opposition to considering bills without complete 302b allocations, which failed to provide the American people with a full budget blueprint for federal spending. Committee Democrats can only assume this piecemeal approach was designed to hide excessive cuts and the failure to adopt a budget in the House, leaving the Appropriations Committee to consider bills without knowing the topline level. Marking up appropriations bills without any sense of the whole was irresponsible and counterproductive, and it had dire consequences for the State and Foreign Operations bill.
During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated, “Quite simply, we are the only global superpower with the means and the moral compass capable of shaping the world for good. If we do not lead, we risk plunging the world deeper into confusion and danger.”
Most of my colleagues and I share this belief, which is why I am so troubled both by the fiscal year 2018 request put forward by the President as well as the allocation provided for this bill. The allocation provides $35,345,000,000 in core funding and $12,019,000,000 in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding, totaling $47,364,000,000. While this is $7,266,000,000 higher than the President’s request, it is $10,007,000,000, or more than 17%, below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
Not only is the allocation for State and Foreign Operations the largest proportional cut to any of the twelve House appropriations bills, it is also insufficient to respond to the global challenges threatening the interests of U.S. citizens and meet the global commitments of the United States. With mass migration in the Middle East and North Africa; proliferation on the Korean Peninsula; famine threatening a historical number of countries; and increasing Russian aggression, U.S. global engagement is essential.
Despite the disappointing process and resulting allocation, Chairman Rogers made an effort to meet several Democratic priorities. The bill sustains unwavering, bipartisan support for our close allies, Israel and Jordan. I appreciate the Chairman’s work to preserve funding for basic education, water and sanitation, democracy and governance, and women’s empowerment. These efforts provide communities the foundations for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.
While the bill rejects many of President Trump’s most extreme and destabilizing proposals, the recommended cuts would make regions less stable and diminish our global leadership by severely reducing or eliminating funding for programs such as international family planning, multilateral cooperation, and climate change.
Additionally, the bill expands the Global Gag Rule to all global health programs and prohibits U.S. contributions to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Expanding the Global Gag Rule when the impact is unknown would be dangerous and jeopardize lives. Coupled with a prohibition on UNFPA, one of our best partners in global women’s health, the bill would leave more people without access to health services and make U.S. assistance less effective. I offered an amendment to strike the expansion of this ill-advised policy and the prohibition on UNFPA and was disappointed it failed on a largely party line vote of 23-29. Representative Barbara Lee offered an amendment to undo the ban on funding to UNFPA and strike the cap of $461,000,000 on bilateral family planning funds, which was rejected on a similar party line vote.
Another casualty of the inadequate allocation is the reneging on our commitments to multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations (UN) and the multilateral development banks. Decreases in assistance to multilaterals, including an 18.4% cut to our UN contributions and failure to meet our obligations for assessed peacekeeping bills, sends a signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. no longer keeps its promises to allies and partners. The bill disproportionately cuts the International Development Association and the African Development Fund, two institutions that help lift the poorest countries out of poverty and become self-sustaining.
Additionally, this bill ends all funding to the International Organizations and Programs account, terminating U.S. support for critical international partners, such as UNDP and UN Women. Representative Barbara Lee’s amendment to restore this account was defeated in a 22-30 vote.
The excessive cuts and distribution of resources in this bill are not the approach we should take. Faced with an inadequate allocation, the U.S. should prioritize areas in which we can get the most from each dollar. Partnerships with multilateral institutions stretch our resources farther toward meeting shared goals.
Businesses recognize the role multilateral cooperation and investment play in advancing our domestic economy. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, international trade accounts for half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs, and 300,000 of our small and medium businesses export internationally. Multilateral engagement assists in the development of markets for U.S. goods and services and incentivizes increased transparency, good governance, and an improved investment climate.
Nowhere is multilateral partnership more important than with the environment. Regrettably, the bill prohibits U.S. contributions to the Green Climate Fund and discontinues a contribution to the Global Environment Facility that traditionally has bipartisan support. Through these prohibitions, the United States retreats from our historic leadership on climate change, a global threat that must be faced urgently and can only be tackled through international cooperation.
While the hope may be that other nations will fill the gaps created by these cuts, we risk the void being filled by those who oppose our values and interests. Democratic members offered amendments by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the Global Environment Facility and Representative Dutch Ruppersberger on the International Development Association, both of which were withdrawn due to opposition from the majority.
In another amendment rejected by a mostly party line vote, Representative Mark Pocan reinforced the application of the domestic and foreign emoluments clause of the United States Constitution to the State and Foreign Operations bill. The framers of the Constitution were wise in drafting the emoluments clause as a means to avoid corruption and international influence on our government. It is deeply disturbing and disappointing that the Committee could not agree to a basic tenet of our democracy and insist that U.S. taxpayers’ funds not be used to enrich the President.
My colleagues also offered several amendments to address rumored office closures in advance of the planned reorganization of the State Department and USAID. The Chairman offered welcome assurances that Congress would be consulted in any reorganization sought by the Secretary of State. While I believe a reorganization could bring improvements to efficiency and effectiveness, any restructuring and reform effort must work from the bottom up without preordained targets. I urge the Department to focus their attention on the tracking of resources; the rationalization of service delivery and implementer; and the coordination of effort within the U.S. government.
Finally, the process for development and diplomacy cannot be truncated, and a retreat from America’s role in the world will not make Americans safer or our nation stronger. The State and Foreign Operations bill is a critical tool to protect national security, carry out our diplomatic agenda, support economic interests, and express the values of the U.S. by addressing humanitarian needs abroad. Supporting programs which build stronger and more stable communities around the world by raising the health, education and economic well-being of citizens as well as building government capacity for generations to come are integral to a vibrant United States economy and long-lasting security. Due to the low allocation, the cuts in this bill endanger our efforts and strategic goals.
I hope my Republican colleagues will reconsider the funding cuts and policy riders in this bill that would make it more difficult to achieve these priorities. I look forward to working with Chairman Rogers and my colleagues in the House to improve the bill.
Nita M. Lowey.
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