House Budget Chair’s FY12 Budget Proposal Would Significantly Cut International Affairs Budget

House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget blueprint, which was released earlier this week, would significantly cut the international affairs budget for FY12 and increase those cuts over the next four years, Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” reports, noting that Ryan’s budget also would increase “the defense budget by 14 percent over the same timeframe” (Rogin, 4/6).

Overall, Ryan’s budget proposal “cuts $6.2 trillion in spending and $1.8 trillion in taxes relative to President Barack Obama’s 10-year plan,” according to Roll Call (Dennis, 4/5).

Ryan’s plan “doesn’t discuss diplomacy or development at all, but sets topline limits for international affairs (known as the 150 account) in the tables at the end of the report that drop off dramatically from current levels in fiscal 2012 and keep going down from there,” according to “The Cable.” “Ryan recommends a total international affairs budget of $37 billion in fiscal 2012, gradually declining to $29 billion by fiscal 2016 – a reduction of 44 percent from what the president requested for fiscal 2011. Ryan didn’t include any details on what programs should be cut,” the blog reports.

Some Democrats and “top officials in the diplomatic and development communities” expressed their concern about Ryan’s budget. “It’s a reckless proposal that would endanger Americans here and abroad and severely weaken U.S. global leadership,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations. “Cutting international affairs spending on this scale would put our nation at higher risk of terrorism, hamper our ability to achieve vital security objectives, and result in a retreat from our leadership role in the global community,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), ranking member of the House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee.

Progress But No Agreement In FY11 Budget Negotiations

Meanwhile, debate over the FY11 budget is not yet resolved. “Congressional leaders again failed to reach a final compromise with the Obama administration on a long-term funding plan for the federal government despite a lengthy late-Wednesday huddle at the White House,” according to the National Journal (Davis, 4/6).

“Obama said he remained ‘confident, if we’re serious about getting something done, we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown,'” CQ notes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “said the White House meeting had ‘narrowed the issues significantly,’ without offering specifics,” the news service reports. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “we made some progress,” but added that there’s “no agreement on a number and there’s no agreement on the policy riders” (Young/Goldfarb, 4/7). 

On Wednesday, “Boehner announced a last-minute effort by House Republicans to keep the government running. He said there will be a vote Thursday on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government functioning for another week while cutting $12 billion in spending. The move sets up a confrontation with Senate Democrats and the White House as negotiators struggle to complete a budget agreement in time to avert a government shutdown this weekend,” The Hill writes (Berman/Hooper, 4/6).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.