On July 9, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved, 27-3, the FY2016 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs spending bill (S. 1725). The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee approved its version on July 7, and the House Appropriations Committee passed its bill on June 11 (see The Source, 6/12/15).
According to the committee report, the legislation would provide $48.006 billion in discretionary and emergency funding for FY2016, which is $3.945 billion below FY2015 and $4.92 billion below President Obama’s request. Of this amount, the legislation would allocate $9.258 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, $2.211 billion above the president’s request, but equal to FY2015. The total also includes $759 million in emergency funding to address costs related to humanitarian and refugee crises.
The committee expects that gender-related programs will remain a top priority of the governments of the United States and foreign countries, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, “particularly those activities which prioritize women’s inclusion in political and security processes and that address gender-based violence” (p. 14). Furthermore, “[t]he committee supports the inclusion of women in reconciliation negotiations and reintegration efforts,” as well as their economic empowerment through small business opportunities (p. 14-5).
The committee noted the dangers in women’s and children’s daily routines in developing countries, including “the lack of safe and accessible latrines,” which “may contribute to sexual and other assaults against women and girls, particularly at night” (p. 69). In addition, the committee notes how exposure to “smoke from traditional cookstoves causes premature deaths…[and that] the women and children who collect firewood face daily hardship and security risks.” As such, the committee recommended funding for clean cookstoves that “sustainably reduce fuel consumption and exposure to harmful smoke” (p. 68).
The committee also acknowledged “the importance of integrating women as key recipients of agricultural and technical assistance,” and would prioritize programs for “women farmers, small-holder farmers, and other vulnerable populations” (p. 62). Further, the committee “supports the inclusion of nutrition activities in water, sanitation and hygiene, global health, and humanitarian programs” (p. 58).
The committee also “recognizes the importance of low-cost vaccines for women of childbearing age,” including those against polio and tetanus (p. 57).
A total of $1.715 billion would be provided “for gender programs, to promote women’s political leadership, implement a multiyear strategy to respond to gender-based violence, and support implementation of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security” (p. 67).
During consideration of the bill, the committee adopted, 17-13, an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to provide $612.6 million for family planning and reproductive health programs, including $538 million for Family Planning and Reproductive Health, $39.6 million for the Economic Support Fund, and $35 million for the United Nations Population Fund.
The following chart details funding for programs important to women and their families.
|Program/Agency||FY2015||President’s FY2016 Request||FY2016|
|Department of State|
|Diplomatic and Consular Affairs (does not include OCO)||$6.461 billion||$7.096 billion||$6.343 billion|
|International Peacekeeping||$2.119 billion||$2.93 billion||$2.753 billion|
|Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons||$7.5 million||$20.723 million||$8.83 million|
|U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) (includes OCO)||$1.276 billion||$1.626 billion||$1.378 billion|
|Bilateral Economic Assistance|
|Migration and Refugee Assistance||$931.886 million||$1.635 billion||$931.886 million|
|Global Health and Child Survival (State and USAID)||$8.454 billion||$8.181 billion||$8.468 billion|
|President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)||$5.67 billion||$5.426 billion||$5.67 billion|
|Child Survival and Maternal Health||$715 million||$770 million||$715 million|
|Vulnerable Children||$22 million||$14.5 million||$22 million|
|Family Planning/Reproductive Health||$523.95 million||$538 million||$612.6 million*|
|Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria||$1.35 billion||$1.107 million||$1.35 billion|
|HIV/AIDS – USAID||$330 million||$330 million||$330 million|
|Microbicides||$45 million||$45 million||$45 million|
|International Organizations and Programs|
|U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF)||$132 million||$132 million||$132 million|
|U.N. Women (formerly UNIFEM)||$7.5 million||$7.7 million||$7.7 million|
|U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA)||$35 million||$35.3 million||$35 million|