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House Budget Committee Cuts Obama Foreign Affairs Budget Request March 25, 2009

Posted by Stephen Abott in Analysis, News.
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Source: US Congress

Source: US Congress

The House Budget Committee is marking up today a recommended budget resolution for FY 2010 that would cut 5.35 b. from the Obama Administration’s international affairs budget request of $53.8 b. Chairman John Spratt’s (D-NC) “mark” for the International Affairs budget does not describe any details related to that cut, which provides a budget nearly 10% below what the President had asked for.

The Administration’s FY 2009 International Affairs appropriation, including supplemental funding, was $42.7 b., making the Budget Committee’s FY 2010 funding level an increase over FY 2009 of $5.8 b., or 13.6%.

However, this increase does not take into account the forthcoming International Affairs supplemental of $7.1 b. due for transmittal next week. If that second FY 2009 supplemental amount were to be enacted by Congress, Chairman’s 2010 budget would provide $1.3 less in International Affairs funding than State, USAID, and the foreign affairs agencies received in FY 2009.

The foreign affairs budget cuts contrast with the Chairman’s recommendation that DOD be funded at the full amount of $533.7 b. requested by the President, and a recommended level for Veterans Affairs that exceeds the President’s request. The Chairman’s budget provides $562 b. for Function 050 – the national defense budget function. This amount includes the President’s $533.7 b. proposed DOD budget, as well as FY 2010 funding for the nuclear activities of the Department of Energy, and several other smaller defense-related programs included in Function 050.

The International Affairs cuts reflect pressures on the Congress, largely from moderate Democrats, to reduce the overall level of non-defense spending, as part of an effort to reduce the federal deficit over the next five years. International Affairs budgets do not have the strong constituency supporting defense, and are, as a result, vulnerable to these cuts. The cuts also reflect the Committee and the Congress’ reluctance to consider all elements of national security spending together, as part of U.S. national security strategy. The result of such cuts could be a further weakening of the civilian tool of American statecraft.

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1. Comparison of the Senate and House Budget Markups for International Affairs « Budget Insight - April 1, 2009

[…] Comparison of the Senate and House Budget Markups for International Affairs April 1, 2009 Posted by Molly Lewis in Analysis. Tags: 150 Account, FY 2010 Foreign Affairs Budget, House, President’s Budget, Senate trackback Congress debates the FY 2010 Budget Resolution this week. Alongside high profile issues like fiscal discipline, health care reform and budgetary gimmicks, the House and Senate will reconsider their proposed cuts to the international affairs budget. The Senate cut $4 billion from the President’s Budget request of $53.8 billion for international affairs, while the House cut $5.35 billion. […]


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