Senate Democrats Release FY11 CR That Seeks To Preserve Foreign Aid, State Department Funding

Senate Democrats on Friday introduced a FY11 continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through September, “with a vote on the measure, as well as a House-passed proposal, expected” this week, the Washington Post’s “2chambers” blog reports (Sonmez, 3/4). In a press release, the Democratic-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee “highlighted a series of significant differences between [its proposal] and the House-passed fiscal 2011 spending measure (HR 1) on the national security front,” CQ reports.

“Democratic appropriators carved out a far broader view of what qualifies as national security activities than did House Republicans, who lumped funding for diplomacy, foreign aid and nuclear and weapons-of-mass-destruction nonproliferation efforts into their non-security discretionary spending bill,” the news service writes. The proposed House budget would cut $61.5 billion from the FY10 spending level for the State Department, foreign aid and homeland security, but the Senate measure aims “to preserve much – but not all – of the money the House wants to cut in those areas,” CQ reports. “While the bill is not expected to survive a test vote in the Senate” this week, it “draws the battle lines between the Democratic and Republican agendas, particularly those in the House, who have been the most aggressive in pushing for cuts,” according to the news service.

The Senate measure’s view of foreign aid and State Department funding as part of national security reflects “an approach that both civilian and military leaders in the Obama administration have strenuously promoted,” CQ notes. “Global health and food security programs and funds to help mitigate the international effects of climate change would all face huge reductions in the House bill – programs that advocates say have important security implications, given the threat that a pandemic could pose to the United States or that food and water scarcity will generate future conflicts (Cadei, 3/4).

The Appropriations Committee release states that the Senate measure “preserves U.S. leadership in key areas such as global health and child survival, providing $885 million more than HR 1 for life-saving health programs, and $1.1 billion more to respond to humanitarian crises. The Senate CR also provides $428 million more than HR 1 for clean energy technology and other global environment programs, and $200 million for the global food security fund to offset food shortages and famine, which HR 1 does not fund at all.” The release also highlights the House budget’s impact on PEPFAR. “HR 1 provides $4.845 billion for PEPFAR, a reduction of $654 million, or 11.9%, below the FY 2011 request level. That will mean some 400,000 people will not receive life-saving antiretroviral treatment and 300,000 orphans and children will not receive care and support,” it says (3/4).

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