House Committee Releases Foreign Operations Spending Bill With State, USAID Funding Cuts

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday released the FY12 Foreign Relations Authorization Act “that slashes State Department funding and foreign aid,” The Hill’s “On The Money” blog reports (Wasson, 7/26). 

The proposed bill (.pdf) includes funding for the U.S. Global Health Initiative (GHI) of $7.1 billion, which is $1.6 billion below the President’s FY12 budget request and approximately $700 million below FY11 levels (Kaiser Family Foundation Policy Tracker and Budget Tracker).   

“The bill contains a total of $11.9 billion in discretionary funding for operational costs of the State Department and related agencies – a decrease of $3.9 billion below last year’s level and $3.1 billion below the President’s request … The bill contains $1.04 billion for USAID – a reduction of $488 million from last year’s level and $705 million below the President’s request,” according to a House Appropriations Committee press release (7/26).

If passed, the bill also “would ban federal money from going to international family planning groups that either offer abortions or provide abortion information, counseling or referrals,” the Associated Press/Washington Post notes (7/26). “The bill would defund U.S. contributions to the U.N. Human Rights Council, cap U.S contributions to U.N. peacekeeping at 25 percent of the overall peacekeeping budget (which would put the United States in arrears), block U.S. contributions to the U.N. Population Fund, cut funding for programs meant to address climate change, restrict 30 percent of U.S. future contributions to the United Nations until it publishes all of its internal financial audits online (which isn’t likely), and rescinds already appropriated funds for the International Monetary Fund,” Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable” reports. The blog notes that “Democrats on the committee and NGO leaders reacted with frustration at the bill’s” foreign aid cuts (Rogin, 7/26).