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Subcommittee Approves State, Foreign Operations Spending Bill

On June 3, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations approved, by voice vote, the FY2016 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs spending bill (as-yet-unnumbered). The legislation provides funding for the State Department, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and foreign assistance programs.

According to the committee summary, the measure would provide $47.8 billion in discretionary and Global War on Terror (GWOT) funding for FY2016. This amount is $1.4 billion below FY2015 and $6.1 billion below President Obama’s request.

The legislation would allocate $1.1 billion for USAID, which is $93 million below FY2015 and $302 million below the administration’s FY2016 request.

The measure also would allocate $21.5 billion towards bilateral foreign aid assistance, which includes $5.67 billion towards programs to combat HIV/AIDS. This amount is $863 million below FY2015 and $1.9 billion below the president’s request. The bill would cap family planning and reproductive health programs at the FY2008 level of $461 million and would prohibit funding for United Nations Population Fund.

With regard to abortion, the bill would reinstate the Mexico City Policy, a policy prohibiting U.S. assistance to foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions, and would maintain longstanding riders, including the Tiahrt Amendment, which ensures family planning programs are voluntary; the Helms Amendment, which bans foreign aid from being spent on abortions; and the Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for international organizations that support coercive abortions or involuntary sterilization.

Additional information will be provided once the committee releases its report.

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