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Friday, November 30, 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

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. Congress delayed passing the FY2013 foreign affairs budget and most of the other appropriations bills until after the start of the new fiscal year and the November 2012 elections. Instead, Congress passed a six-month stopgap funding measure that expires in March 2013 (P.L. 112-175).

On February 13, 2012, the Obama Administration submitted its FY2013 budget proposal. The FY2013 request totaled $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 represented 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 regular budget process, the Administration requested 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 foreign affairs request included $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 voiced concern about U.S. relations with, and aid to, Pakistan. For other key accounts, the Administration sought $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 demonstrated differing priorities and funding levels. The House Appropriations Committee-approved State-Foreign Operations FY2013 funding bill (H.R. 5857/H.Rept. 112-494) would have provided 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) would have provided a total of $52.3 billion (including $2.3 billion in OCO). Both House and Senate Committees provided more than requested for GHP, but differed significantly on funding MENA IF—the House committee provided no funding for it, and the Senate committee recommended $1 billion. The House bill provided $461 million for international family planning and reproductive health activities, prohibited funding for UNFPA, and included a “Mexico City Policy” provision prohibiting funding for organizations that perform or promote abortions. In contrast, the Senate bill included $700 million for international family planning, including $44.5 million for UNFPA, and did not include “Mexico City Policy” language.

FY2012 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, that year 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.

Date of Report: November 19, 2012
Number of Pages: 38
Order Number: R42621
Price: $29.95

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