Update on Potential Rescission Package

On August 3rd, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initiated a review of unobligated foreign assistance funding that is set to expire at the end of the fiscal year on September 30th, 2019. It has been reported that OMB may submit a rescission package (a formal request to rescind existing unobligated funding back to the Treasury Department) to Congress by August 20th. The rescission package would propose to effectively cancel an undisclosed amount of unobligated foreign assistance funds. Until a proposal is submitted to Congress, the White House is limiting State Department and USAID obligations to 2% of available funding per day.

Once a rescission package is submitted to Congress, the funds included in the proposal are frozen for 45 days unless Congress takes action to enact or reject the proposed rescission package. Several bipartisan Members of Congress have already spoken out against the potential rescission package that would prematurely target foreign assistance funding for elimination before the spending authority expires at the end of the fiscal year, however Congress is currently in recess and Congressional Members will remain in their home states and districts until September 9th.

Funding for the Development Assistance (DA) account and the Economic Support Fund (ESF) are part of the ongoing review. The majority of basic education funding comes from the DA and ESF accounts, which both have two-year spending authority (i.e. the State Department and USAID have two fiscal years to obligate the funds before the authority expires and the funds must be returned to the Treasury Department). It is not yet clear how much fiscal year 2018 basic education funding remains unobligated, but there is a risk that any remaining FY18 basic education funding could be included in a potential rescission package to Congress.

BEC has joined Interaction and others in a community statement that denounces yet another attempt to rescind previously appropriated foreign assistance funding. BEC will continue to gather information in the coming days about the potential risk to fiscal year 2018 basic education funding and will also work with our allies in Congress to oppose any potential rescission package that targets foreign assistance. If you have questions, comments, or additional information to share with the Coalition at this point in time, please contact khenslee@basiced.org.