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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2011 Budget and Appropriations

Marian Leonardo Lawson
Analyst in Foreign Assistance

Susan B. Epstein
Specialist in Foreign Policy

Tamara J. Resler
Analyst in Foreign Affairs

The annual State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill has been the primary legislative vehicle through which Congress reviews the U.S. international affairs budget and influences executive branch foreign policy making in recent years, as Congress has not regularly considered these issues through a complete authorization process for State Department diplomatic activities since 2003 and for foreign aid programs since 1985. 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. Ongoing assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as large new global health programs and rapidly increasing assistance to Pakistan, has kept the international affairs budget at historically high levels in recent years. The change of Administration in 2009 did not disrupt this trend. However, increasing concern about the federal budget deficit and accountability for funds already provided has halted this growth in FY2011.

On February 1, 2010, President Obama submitted a budget proposal for FY2011 that requested $58.68 billion for the international affairs budget, a 3% increase over the enacted FY2010 funding level, including supplementals. If $1.8 billion in “forward funding” of FY2010 priorities appropriated in FY2009 supplemental legislation is counted toward FY2010 rather than FY2009 totals, as it was by the Administration, and the enacted FY2010 supplemental is factored in, the FY2011 request would represent a slight decrease from FY2010-enacted levels.

This report focuses only on the $56.82 billion requested for programs and activities funded through the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill, which excludes some portions of the International Affairs request and includes funding for certain commissions requested as part of other budget functions. The Administration requested significant increases for Global Health and Child Survival, Development Assistance, technical assistance and debt restructuring through the Treasury Department, Foreign Military Financing, and various multilateral environmental accounts. Programs for which the Administration recommended significantly reduced funding, compared with enacted FY2010 levels, are contributions to international organizations, commissions and foundations, and peacekeeping operations.

The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee approved a draft FY2011 bill on June 30, which totaled $52.81 billion. On the Senate side, the full Appropriations Committee marked up and approved its FY2011 State-Foreign Operations bill, S. 3676, on July 27, totaling $54.22 billion. Neither bill progressed further, however, and State Department and Foreign Operations activities, along with all federal programs, have been funded since October 1, 2010, through a series of continuing resolutions. On April 14, 2011, the House and Senate approved H.R. 1473, legislation embodying an agreement between the Administration and House and Senate leaders to fund the government for the remainder of FY2011. Signed into law on April 15, 2011, H.R. 1473 (P.L. 112-10) funds State and Foreign Operations accounts at $48.98 billion.

This report analyzes the FY2011 request, recent-year funding trends, and congressional action related to FY2011 State-Foreign Operations legislation.

Date of Report: April 22, 2011
Number of Pages: 38
Order Number: R41228
Price: $29.95

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