Details Of Latest FY11 Continuing Resolution, Including State Department And Foreign Ops Cuts, Released

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday released details of the spending deal “struck with Senate Democrats and the White House to avert a government shutdown and cut nearly $40 billion in government spending” compared with FY10 levels, CQ reports.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations “scored the bill’s savings slightly lower, saying it would produce $38.5 billion in reductions compared with fiscal 2010 levels,” CQ notes. “Although the final tally falls short of House conservatives’ initial hopes to slash spending by more than $60 billion, the bill would make the largest non-defense spending cut in the nation’s history, according to the White House and congressional Republicans” (Young, 4/12).

“The funding level for the State Department and Foreign Operations in the [continuing resolution or CR] is a total of $48.3 billion – a $504 million reduction from last year’s level and an $8.4 billion reduction from the President’s fiscal year 2011 request,” according to a summary (.pdf) of the CR from the House Appropriations Committee. “This section of the legislation includes a prohibition on pay raises for foreign services officers, a $377 million cut to U.S. contributions to the United Nations and international organizations, and a $130 million cut to international banks and financial institutions” (4/12). USAID operating expenses will be cut by $39 million compared with FY10 levels, while funding for the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator will be cut by $14 million compared with FY10, according to a list of reductions (.pdf) from the House Appropriations Committee (4/12).

According to a Senate Committee on Appropriations press release: “The bill provides $7.845 billion for global health programs, which is $66 million above the FY10 enacted level” and it also “provides $750 million for the Global Fund, which is equal to the FY10 enacted level” (4/12). The bill includes an additional “$300 million in funding for the Global Fund,” according to another Senate Appropriations Committee press release on Labor, HHS and Education spending (4/12). A third Senate Appropriations Committee press release highlights additional details included in the bill (4/12).

“A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending … reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway,” the Associated Press reports in an article looking at the cuts. “Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs … from Republican knives. And big holes in foreign aid and Environmental Protection Agency accounts were patched in large part,” the AP writes (4/11).

Advocates Continue Hunger Strike, Protest HIV/AIDS Cuts

In response to the latest budget cuts, anti-poverty advocates “who launched a hunger strike last month in protest of Republicans’ proposed budget cuts are continuing to fast,” The Hill’s “On The Money” blog reports. “According to the White House, the State Department and foreign assistance budget took the hardest hit in the six-month continuing resolution agreed to by Democrats and Republicans shortly before the government was set to shut down Friday night,” the blog writes.  

“We are not at all satisfied,” Ritu Sharma, co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide, said. Sharma added that the State and Foreign Operations cuts “will disproportionately hit food assistance for poor people abroad,” according to blog. “She said that she and other activists will continue their fast through this week. They are also protesting cuts in the Republican 2012 budget proposal authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)” (Wasson, 4/11).

Meanwhile on Monday, “Capitol Police arrested a dozen protesters in front of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s [R-Va.] Washington, D.C., Congressional office,” Roll Call reports.

The group was demonstrating against proposed cuts to HIV/AIDS prevention programs. “They were yelling ‘GOP spreads HIV,'” according to a staffer who witnessed the scene. “They were being perpetually noncompliant and the police had to pick them up and remove them,” the staffer said. “It is unclear what groups were responsible for the protest, but another staffer who witnessed the civil disobedience described the group as young, perhaps teenagers and college students,” Roll Call notes (Newhauser, 4/11).

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