Search Penny Hill Press

Friday, October 19, 2012

State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2013 Budget and Appropriations

Susan B. Epstein
Specialist in Foreign Policy

Marian Leonardo Lawson
Analyst in Foreign Assistance

Alex Tiersky
Analyst in Foreign Affairs

The 112th Congress is considering FY2013 international affairs funding within the context of the Budget Control Act (P.L. 112-25) that established discretionary spending limits for FY2012- FY2021 and contains automatic budget reductions (sequestration) on discretionary spending to begin on January 2, 2013.

International affairs expenditures typically amount to about 1.5% of the total federal budget. While some foreign policy and defense experts view that share as a small price to pay for a robust foreign affairs budget that they believe is essential to meeting national security and foreign policy objectives, others see international affairs spending, particularly foreign aid, as an attractive target for significant spending cuts in order to reduce deficit spending. Many expect a delay in passing the FY2013 foreign affairs budget and most of the other appropriations bills until after the November 2012 elections (two months into the new fiscal year), which may have more to do with election year politics, however, than lawmakers’ differing views on foreign affairs spending.

On February 13, 2012, the Obama Administration submitted its FY2013 budget proposal. The FY2013 request totals $54.87 billion for the State-Foreign Operations appropriations, including a core budget proposal of $46.63 billion plus $8.24 billion for extraordinary and temporary warrelated Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in frontline states. The total request represents an increase of 2.6% over the estimated FY2012 funding level for the foreign affairs accounts, including $18.8 billion (a 4.5% increase) for State Department and Related Agencies and $36.1 billion (a 0.1% increase) for Foreign Operations. Within the budget process, the Administration is requesting authority in addition to appropriations ($770 million) for a new account—the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund (MENA IF)—to provide flexible and transparent support for Arab Spring countries in transition toward democracy. The request includes $8.2 billion for the front line states of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (including $800 million for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF), even though most previously enacted PCCF funding has not been disbursed and many lawmakers are voicing concern about U.S. relations with, and aid to, Pakistan. For other key accounts, the Administration is seeking $7.9 billion for the Global Health Programs (GHP) account, $770 million for global climate change activities, and $643 million for family planning and reproductive health activities, including $39 million for the controversial U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA).

Early action by the House and Senate appropriators demonstrates differing priorities and funding levels. The House Appropriations Committee-approved State-Foreign Operations FY2013 funding bill (H.R. 5857/H.Rept. 112-494) provides a total of $48.5 billion (including $8.3 billion in OCO and $160 million in rescissions), while the Senate Committee bill (S. 3241/S.Rept. 112- 172) provides a total of $52.3 billion (including $2.3 billion in OCO). Both House and Senate Committees provide more than requested for GHP, but differ significantly on funding MENA IF—the House committee provides no funding for it, and the Senate committee recommends $1 billion. The House bill provides $461 million for international family planning and reproductive health activities, prohibits funding for UNFPA, and includes a “Mexico City Policy” provision prohibiting funding for organizations that perform or promote abortions. In contrast, the Senate bill includes $700 million for international family planning, including $44.5 million for UNFPA, and does not include “Mexico City Policy” language.

Last year was the first time the Department of State requested and Congress appropriated OCO funds. Congress attempted to rein in FY2012 spending but still meet war-related costs in the front line states of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. As a result, Congress appropriated $11.2 billion in OCO funds, nearly 30% more than the $8.7 billion requested by the Administration. The estimated overall FY2012 total funding level of $53.5 billion was about 10% less than the Administration’s FY2012 request, but 10% more than the FY2011 total.

The State Department, Foreign Operations, and Related Agencies appropriations legislation, in addition to funding U.S. diplomatic and foreign aid activities, 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. (Congress has not addressed foreign policy issues through a complete authorization process for State Department diplomatic activities since 2003 and since 1985 for foreign aid programs.) After a period of reductions in the late 1980s and 1990s, funding for State Department operations, international broadcasting, and foreign aid rose steadily from FY2002 to FY2010, largely because of ongoing assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan, new global health programs, and increasing assistance to Pakistan. Funding declined by 11.6% in FY2011 when Congress passed a continuing resolution (P.L. 112-10) significantly reducing U.S. government-wide expenditures, including foreign affairs. The FY2012 funding represents a 2.3% increase from the previous year, largely reflecting OCO support for frontline states.

This report analyzes the FY2013 request and congressional action related to FY2013 State- Foreign Operations legislation. Updates will occur to reflect congressional actions.

Date of Report: October 4, 2012
Number of Pages: 38
Order Number: R42621
Price: $29.95

To Order:

R42621.pdf  to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART


Phone 301-253-0881

For email and phone orders, provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.