In the early morning hours of Saturday, February 19th, the House passed legislation (H.R. 1) to fund the federal government for the remainder of FY2011.  The bill itself includes many cuts to U.S. foreign assistance programs including:*

  • $121 million from USAID’s Operating Expenses (9%)
  • $746 million from Development Assistance (30%)
  • $630 million from the Economic Support Fund (10%)
  • $315 million from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (29%)
  • $784 million from Global Health and Child Survival (10%)
  • $892 million from International Financial Institutions (44%)

But the story doesn’t end there.  Representatives from both parties offered over 580 amendments (!) to H.R. 1.  Only a fraction of these amendments were accepted or passed, but they included an additional $620 million in spending cuts.  Of the 67 amendments passed, nine amendments have an international assistance component.  They include:

  • $42.6 million from the United States Institute of Peace
  • $10.7 million from the East-West Center
  • $20 million from tropical forest debt reduction
  • A prohibition on U.S. military assistance to Chad due to its continued use of child conscription, consistent with the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2007
  • A prohibition on the use of funds for the Overseas Comparability Pay Adjustment, an increase in pay for overseas Foreign Service Officers.
  • A ban on foreign aid to Saudi Arabia
  • A prohibition on funds for UN construction within the U.S.
  • A prohibition on the use of funds for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • A prohibition on the use of federal funds to pay the salaries of special presidential advisers who are not required to go through the Senate confirmation process

H.R. 1 heads to the Senate now for a whole new round of deliberations.  At this point it’s anyone’s guess what the final FY2011 budget will look like, but H.R. 1 offers a (somewhat discouraging) glimpse of how foreign assistance may fare in the future.

*As compared to FY2010 Actual