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House Committee Approves Foreign Aid Budget in Late-Night Session (Devex)

July 20, 2017

From the article:

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations approved a U.S. foreign affairs budget bill that would cut funding to the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other international agencies and organizations by $10 billion.

The prolonged “markup” debate, which lasted until just before midnight, gave representatives a chance to propose and debate amendments to the State and Foreign Operations budget bill that had passed through a House subcommittee last week. Nearly all the amendments aimed at restoring funding or rolling back policy restrictions — most of them offered by minority Democrats — were defeated...

Scott Morris, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and director of its U.S. Development Policy Initiative, described the House funding levels as “very troubling” though unlikely to pass in the final legislation.

“[It] shows that there's a branch of government even less multilateralist than the Trump administration,” he said.

Morris warned the overall forecast for the World Bank and other multilateral development banks looks grim under the current administration. Even if the Senate does increase the World Bank’s allocation from the figure agreed by the House, Morris said the “bigger worry” is that Senators could still fail to restore funding levels to the multilateral development banks more broadly, which are set to receive a 20 percent trim in core funding under the Trump budget proposal.

The best outcome for the World Bank would be a continuing resolution, Morris said. Though even this could cause complications, since certain contributions, such as U.S. funding to IDA, require authorizations, which he said would be unlikely to be included.

“With China offering the rest of the world new options for MDB financing through the [Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank], it's a particularly bad time for the U.S. to be dramatically scaling back its support for the World Bank [and other multilateral development banks],” Morris said.

Read full article here.

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Senior Fellow, Director of the US Development Policy Initiative