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House Subcommittee Approves State, Foreign Operations Spending Bill

On July 6, the House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee approved, by voice vote, the FY2017 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs spending bill (as-yet-unnumbered). The Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the bill on June 29 (see The Source, 7/1/16).

According to the committee summary, the bill would provide $37.1 billion in regular appropriations, a decrease of $595 million from FY2016 and $691 million below President Obama’s FY2017 budget request.

The State Department would be funded at $16.1 billion in base funding, which is $182 million below FY2016 and $772 million below the president’s request. This total includes a recommended $65 million to combat human trafficking.

Additionally, the legislation recommends $1.6 billion for USAID, an increase of $33 million above FY2016 and $122 million below the president’s request. This funding would be allocated in an effort to improve child survival and maternal health programs, as well as health, nutrition, water, and sanitation programs that directly address the needs of mothers and children globally.

Bilateral Economic Assistance, which funds several global health programs, would be funded at $24.2 billion, an increase of $104 million from FY2016 and $149 million over the president’s request. This includes $3.1 billion allocated to refugee funding, which is the same as FY2016 levels. It also includes $200 million dedicated to global health security.

The bill also would reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which is a policy that prohibits U.S. assistance to foreign non-governmental organizations that promote or perform abortions. Additionally, it would prohibit funding for the U.N. Population Fund and would cap family planning and reproductive health programs at $461 million. Finally, the measure would maintain three longstanding amendments that prohibit funding for abortions globally: the “Tiahrt Amendment,” which ensures that family planning programs are voluntary; the “Helms Amendment,” which prohibits foreign aid from being spent on abortions; and the “Kemp-Kasten Amendment,” which prohibits funds for organizations that support coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.

Additional details will be provided when the committee releases its report.

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