December 6th

BEC signed onto a letter to SFOP members, urging them to use the higher basic education numbers in the House Appropriations bill in the final FY18 spending bills. BEC also signed onto a letter to House and Senate Budget Committee members, urging them to maintain the International Affairs spending levels. Finally, BEC spearheaded a letter, with 17 organizations, to House and Senate Appropriators, urging them to adopt the higher House funding levels for Basic Education.

November 28 Update

The current continuing resolution which funds the US government expires on December 8th. It is expected that Congress will pass an additional short-term resolution to continue funding the government through late December and, if an agreement is not found, through January to give appropriators time to finalize their FY18 spending bills.

November 2nd Update

On Tuesday, October 31st, Ambassador Green testified before the House SFOPS subcommittee. You can find the full hearing here but some noteworthy quotes include:

 

  •  “As former foreign policy and defense leaders have often said…in a world as complex are ours, with our national security under threat more than perhaps ever before we need to be able to deploy the entirety of our statecraft toolbox. This must include our most sophisticated development and humanitarian tools. At USAID we embrace this mission.” – Administrator Green

WDR18: Conversation with the Implementers @ BEC

WDR18: Conversation with the Implementers @ BEC

Washington, D.C.- On Tuesday, October 24th, 40 representatives from NGOs, USAID, and the World Bank met to celebrate and discuss the World Bank’s World Development Report 2018 (WDR18): LEARNING to Realize Education’s Promise. The WDR is the World Bank’s flagship report, which is prepared annually on a specific topic of global importance. For the first time in almost 40 years of the WDR series, the focus is on education.

HR 2408, the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act, passed the House of Representatives

HR 2408, the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act, passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 3rd. The bill’s lead sponsors are Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Robin Kelly (D-IL). This legislation priorities programs that support access to displaced children, especially girls. Additionally, it requires State and USAID to include data on education programs for displaced children in any report to Congress on disaster relief and recovery efforts.  You can find the Republican Policy Committee summary and cost estimate here.

October 3rd Update

Congress: The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the FY18 budget resolution in the coming week. This is an essential step so that Republicans can address a key legislative priority, overhauling the tax code.

The Administration: The Trump administration continues to focus on the relief effort for areas affected by hurricanes.

On September 26th, Malala Yousafzai met with Ambassador Green, Representatives Rogers (R-KY) and Lowey (D-NY) and Senators Leahy and Shaheen to discuss girls education.

FY18 Appropriations

The Senate State Foreign Operations Appropriation bill was approved on September 7th. you can find the Majority’s summary here and the Minority’s here. A brief overview of the bill:

  • $51.2 billion in topline spending with $30.4 billion in base and $20.8 billion in OCO. This is a 1.7% cut from FY17, excluding the defense supplemental and famine relief.
  • Basic education was appropriated $500 million for FY18, with $75 million earmarked for multilateral organizations. This was not unexpected, as the Senate bill is generally less than the House. 
    • In comparison:
      • The House FY18 SFOPS bill allocated $800 million, with $87.5 multilaterals towards multilaterals
      • President Trump’s request for basic ed for FY18 was $377.901 million
      • The FY17 final numbers for basic education were $800 million, with $75 million towards multilaterals.
  • The report language for basic education, which now includes secondary education, highlights the pipeline (which is now at $2.295 billion) and supports greater emphasis on adolescent girls education. 

The House of Representatives will be voting on a 8 bill appropriations Omnibus the week of September 11th. 

READ Act passes out of SFRC

The READ Act passed out of Senate Foreign Relations Committee by unanimous voice vote on May 25th. A technical amendment was added to the bill during the markup, changing the due date of the next USAID Education strategy from October 1st to one year from enactment of the READ Act. The bill will now need to pass the full Senate and the House of Representatives before it is sent to President Trump’s desk. The READ Act (HR 601/S 623) was introduced by Ranking Member Lowey and Rep. Reichert in the House and Senators Rubio and Durbin. You can find the bill here.

President's budget released

On May 23rd, President Trump released his FY18 budget request to the public. As expected, there was a $54 million increase in defense spending and a cut to the Non-Defense Discretionary accounts for the same amount. Almost every agency, excluding Defense, VA and Homeland, have reduced spending requests.

State Department and Foreign Assistance
The budget remained consistent with the President’s proposal in mid-March, proposing to slash the State Department’s budget by 32% for a total of $37.6 billion. This funding is split between base funding (long-term, enduring development and diplomacy programs) and Overseas Contingency Operations(OCO) funding.
 
The overall foreign aid and diplomacy spending request is $40.1 billion compared to FY17 levels of $53.1 billion. The White House has also split this funding between core funding ($28 billion) and OCO funds ($12 billion). Items of note include:

* The elimination of the Food for Peace program, which was just funded at over $1 billion in FY17 to fight famine across the world, and the McGovern-Dole program, shifting all funding into the International Disaster Assistance Account.
* The elimination of funding for international family planning programs
* A sharp cut to Global Health funding by $2.2 billion
* 37 countries will lose economic and development assistance
* Disaster aid (IDA) would receive a 43% cut

 
Basic Education and Development Assistance
The Development Assistance account, where the majority of basic education funding resides and has traditionally focused on long-term development efforts and overseen by USAID, has been merged with the Economic Support fund, which is overseen by State and is traditionally focused on providing assistance to strategic partners, to create the new Economic Support and Development Fund account. The new account would be overseen by the State Department and would see a 44% cut comparted to FY17 levels and assistance to 37 countries will be zeroed out. The Office of Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) has received a 60% cut.
 
Basic Education funding will receive a 53% cut when compared to FY17 enacted levels. When comparing FY17 request to FY18 request, funding is cut by 33%. Funding for basic education will come from the newly created Economic Support and Development Fund account, overseen by State, and the Economic Support and Development Fund OCO, overseen by the Department of Defense and the State Department.
 
What’s next?
The President’s budget, by all accounts, is considered dead on arrival by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin holding hearings on the Administration’s request and will begin drafting their own appropriation bills in the coming months. Congress has until September 30th to negotiate and pass FY18 appropriation bills before funding for the government runs out.
 
Finally, as a reference, below are important links regarding the budget:
The State Department FY18 budget page, including the Congressional Budget Justification
The President’s Budget
Major Savings and Reforms of the FY18 Budget (published by the White House)
Budget Appendixes for each agency
Supplemental Materials Released by the White House for the Budget
USGLC’s Statement and Analysis of the Budget
MFAN’s Statement on the Budget
InterAction’s Budget Table with updated numbers

Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017

House and Senate appropriators came to an agreement on a fiscal year 2017 omnibus spending bill to fund the government until the end of the fiscal year, September 30th. The legislation consists of the 11 unfinished appropriation bills for FY17, including State and Foreign Ops, and provides new guidance on how funds should be spent.
 
Overall Funding
The 2017 omnibus provides for a total $1.070 trillion for FY17 including:

* $551 billion in base defense spending
* $518.5 billion in base non-defense spending
* $62.1 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations defense spending
* $16.5 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations non-defense spending

Additionally, the bill provides funds to Puerto Rico to alleviate an emergency budget shortfall, $202 million towards the McGovern-Dole program, a $15 billion boost to supplemental defense spending, extension of health insurance benefits for retired mine workers and $1.1 billion in disaster assistance funding.
 
A number of the President’s requests, including funding for the border wall, an $18 billion cut to non-defense spending and codifying the global gag rule, were not included in the bill.
 
State and Foreign Operations Funding
The FY17 omnibus provides $53.07 billion in discretionary funding for the State Department, USAID and other related programs, including approx. $1 billion towards famine relief.

Key funding includes maintained FY16 levels for basic education programs($800 million, with $75 million allocated for multilateral programs)

* $2.99 billion for development assistance, a $214.5 million increase over the FY16 level   
* $905 million for MCC
* $3.1 billion for assistance for refugees

Without the additional funding for famine relief, the bill is approx $594 million less than FY16. To reduce spending, appropriators:

* Capped funding for US peacekeeping assessments at 25%
* Did not contribute to the Green Climate Fund
* Underfunded US contributions to the World Bank

Bill Text and Summaries
You can find the text of HR 244 (the FY17 Omnibus) here. Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY)’s summary on the bill can be found here. State and Foreign Operations begins on page 1114 and ends on 1463. You can find the official explanatory statement from the House of Representatives for State and Foreign Operations here.