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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2010 Budget and Appropriations

Susan B. Epstein
Specialist in Foreign Policy

Kennon H. Nakamura
Analyst in Foreign Affairs

Marian Leonardo Lawson
Analyst in Foreign Assistance

The annual State, Foreign Operations and Related Agencies appropriations bill is the primary legislative vehicle through which Congress reviews the U.S. international affairs budget and influences executive branch foreign policy making in general, as these activities have not been considered regularly by Congress through the authorization process. Funding for Foreign Operations and State Department/Broadcasting programs has been steadily rising since FY2002, after a period of decline in the 1980s and 1990s. Amounts approved for FY2004 in regular and supplemental bills reached an unprecedented level compared with the previous 40 years, largely due to Iraq reconstruction funding. Ongoing assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as large new global health programs, has kept the international affairs budget at historically high levels in recent years. The Obama Administration's FY2010 budget proposal indicates that this trend will continue. 

On May 7, 2009, President Obama submitted a budget proposal for FY2010 that requests $53.9 billion for the international affairs budget, a 2% increase over the enacted FY2009 funding level, including supplementals. Within that amount, $52.2 billion is for programs and activities funded through the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill. The Administration requested significant increases to support additional foreign service officers at USAID and the Department of State, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, food security and agricultural development, counter-terrorism and law enforcement activities, and meeting U.S. commitments to international organizations. Among programs and regions for which the Administration recommended reduced funding, compared with estimated FY2009 levels, are economic assistance to Iraq; aid to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia; international peacekeeping; and foreign military financing. These comparisons, however, are in relation to unusually high FY2009 total funding levels in some accounts, and do not necessarily reflect shifts in policy or priorities. 

Key policy issues addressed in the Administration's request include enhancing the capacity of civilian diplomatic and development agencies, promoting U.S. leadership in multilateral development banks, and improving fiscal transparency by funding ongoing programs through the regular appropriations process rather than through supplemental appropriations. The proposal also seeks funding for at least two activities that have been rejected by Congress in the past— multilateral clean investment funds managed by the World Bank and the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). 

This report analyzes the FY2010 request, recent-year funding trends, and congressional action for FY2010, which includes the July 9 House approval of H.R. 3081, the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for FY2010, July 9 Senate Appropriations Committee passage of its bill (S. 1434), and passage of H.R. 3288, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, signed into law Dec. 16, 2009 (P.L. 111-117).

Date of Report: December 29, 2009
Number of Pages: 38
Order Number: R40693
Price: $29.95

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