FY14 Senate State and Foreign Ops Bill and Committee Report

Summary and Highlights:

FY14 Senate State and Foreign Operations Bill and Committee Report

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On Thursday July 25, the Senate Committee on Appropriations held its full committee markup of the 2014 State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill.  A summary of the markup discussion is availablehere.

The Chairman of the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) noted in a press release:

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a fiscal year 2014 bill that provides $50.594 billion in discretionary budget authority to project U.S. leadership and protect a wide array of U.S. security, humanitarian, and economic interests around the world. Of this amount, $6.515 billion is for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in the frontline states (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq) and in other areas in political transition (the Middle East and North Africa) and to respond to humanitarian emergencies (e.g. Syria, Somalia, Central Africa).The bill is $1.1 billion below the President’s fiscal year 2014 budget request and $2.7 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. It is $10 billion above the House Subcommittee mark.

The Senate has released the full text and committee report of the bill.  The committee report contains additional and more detailed explanations of the provisions of the bill, arguments for its approval, cost estimates, and other relevant information.  A summary of the relevant highlights of the Senate bill and committee report on the Middle East and North Africa are below.

Also, for a comparison of the House appropriations process, please see POMED’s summary of the FY14 House SFOPS bill and accompanying committee report.

TITLE I – DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND RELATED AGENCY

Conflict Stabilization Operations (CSO): The bill includes transfer authority under Diplomatic and Consular Programs (D&CP) and the Complex Foreign Crises Fund (CFCF) to provide $36.7 million in funding to CSO. An additional $8.5 million in Title VIII is also made available for CSO in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria. This brings the total funding available for FY14 Conflict Stabilization Operations to $45.2 million, which represents a 13 percent increase from the FY13 enacted level.

Contributions to International Organizations: The Committee provides $1.46 billion for international organizations, a 6 percent reduction from the FY13 enacted level.  The committee report notes the bill does not provide the request of $77.8 million for a U.S. contribution to UNESCO and an additional $38.9 million in Contingent Requirements for such a contribution, which is prohibited by current U.S. law in regards to Palestinian statehood.

International Peacekeeping Activities: The Committee provides $2.1 billion for international peacekeeping activities, which represents a 4 percent increase from the FY13 enacted level.

International Broadcasting Operations: A total of $721 million is designated, $4.4 million of which is included in Title VIII of the bill for Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East. This funding level represents a 3 percent decrease from the FY13 enacted level. In the report, the Committee noted its concern with “the dysfunction and poor management of the BBG as identified by the OIG,” and “recommends revising the Board quorum requirement to a majority of Board members serving.” Existing law requires a quorum of five members despite there being only four members currently serving on the Board.

United States Institute of Peace (USIP): A total of $37 million is designated for USIP, $6 million of which is included in Title VIII of the bill “for the extraordinary costs of USIP programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and the Middle East.”  This represents a 5 percent decrease from the FY13 enacted level.

National Endowment for Democracy (NED): $135 million is designated for the NED, a nearly 15 percent increase above the FY13 enacted level. Furthermore, the Committee specifies in the report recommended additional funds above the budget request for programs in eight countries, including $1.5 million for Egypt and $3.5 million for Iraq.

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom: USCIRF is funded at $3.5 million in the bill, a 20 percent increase from the FY13 enacted level.

 

TITLE II – UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

United States Agency for International Development (USAID): The bill designates a total of $1.35 billion in funding for USAID, $63.4 million of which is designated for “programs and operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.” As noted by the Committee, the bill “requires cost saving measures and does not include funding or authority for phase III of overseas comparability pay for Foreign Service officers,” as in prior fiscal years.

 

TITLE III – BILATERAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE

Development Assistance: The bill designates $2.5 billion in funding for development assistance, nearly identical to the FY13 enacted level.

Democracy Fund: The bill provides $130.5 million “for the promotion of democracy globally,” 14 percent above the FY13 enacted level.  Further, the committee divides this funding as follows: $70.5 to the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), and $60 million for USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA).

International Disaster Assistance: The bill provides $1.6 billion for international disaster assistance, of which $1 billion is allocated towards “U.S. response to crises resulting from conflict, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, and Africa.”

Transition Initiatives: A total of $57.6 million is designated for transition initiatives to “support transition to democracy and long-term development of countries in crisis, $5 million of which is included in Title VIII of the bill “for the extraordinary costs of contingency operations in countries in conflict, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria.”  This overall amount is nearly identical to the FY13 enacted level.

Economic Support Fund (ESF): The Committee designates a total of $4.49 billion for ESF, $901 million of which is included in Title VIII of the bill “for the extraordinary costs of operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.”  This amount represents a 27 percent reduction from the FY13 enacted level, a reflection of the significant reduction of ESF funds to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq under Title VIII.

Also under the ESF heading, $250 million is designated for Egypt (conditions on this assistance are noted in Section VII, below) and $360 million for Jordan. In addition, the committee report includes $3 million “to support democracy and governance activities in Bahrain.”  In Libya, the Committee requires the Secretary of State to ensure that the Government of Libya cooperates with U.S. investigative efforts in regards to the 2012 attack in Benghazi prior to the obligation of funds.  The Committee matches the President’s ESF budget request for assistance to Tunisia ($30 million), Yemen ($45 million), and the West Bank ($370 million). The committee report also includes $30 million to “promote democracy and human rights in, and for broadcasting to, Iran” and notes with concern the plight of political prisoners in Iran including Nasrin Sotoudeh, as well as calling for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini.

The Committee also matches the President’s budget request for key regional programs, including the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) at $75 million, the Office of Middle East Programs (OMEP) at $30 million, and the Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) at $4 million.

Complex Foreign Crises Fund (CFCF): The Committee did not recommend funding for the Complex Crises fund or the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund (MENA-IF), and instead recommends funding for a new account, the Complex Foreign Crises Fund (CFCF).

The Committee designates $575 million for the new account, $40 million of which is “to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen complex crises, support political transitions in the Middle East and North Africa, and address instability caused by conflict in Syria.” $535 million of the CFCF funding is included in Title VIII “for the extraordinary costs of responding to humanitarian and security crises and political transitions globally, including in the Middle East and North Africa” ($200 million of which is designated for Jordan).  CFCF funds will also finance enterprise funds and loan guarantees for Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan.

Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC): The bill includes $899 million for MCC funding, nearly identical to the FY13 enacted level. The committee report expresses concern that “the MCC’s methodology for evaluating eligibility of prospective compact countries under the Control of Corruption indicator may not be sufficiently timely or effective.”

TITLE IV – INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE

International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE): INCLE funding is decreased by 45 percent from the FY13 enacted level, a reflection of the significant reduction of INCLE funds to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq under Title VIII.  Within the $1.1 billion allocation, $3 million is designated “for coordination of rule of law programs.”

Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR): NADR is funded at $700 million, nearly identical to the FY13 enacted level.  Under this heading, the Committee “directs the Secretary of State to consult with the Committee prior to obligating funds for programs in Syria.”

Peacekeeping Operations: $389.5 million is included for peacekeeping operations, of which $36 million is for the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai.

International Military Education and Training (IMET): $105 million is included in the bill for IMET, which is nearly identical to the FY13 enacted level. Specifically, the committee report “directs the Secretary of State, following consultation with the Committee, to conduct an analysis of IMET’s effectiveness in promoting respect for human rights among military officers from countries with a history of human rights violations and in establishing enduring relationships with U.S. military and civilian personnel.” In this section, the committee notes specific concern with Saudi Arabia’s “continued detention of blogger and journalist Hamza Kashgari, who was arrested in February 2012 and remains in detention.”

Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program: The bill allocates $5.9 billion for FMF, $500 million of which is included under Title VIII “for the extraordinary costs of contingency operations in Iraq.” This overall level represents a 7 percent decrease from the FY13 enacted level. Under the FMF heading, the committee provides $3.1 billion for Israel, $1.3 billion for Egypt (conditions on this assistance are noted in Section VII, below), and $300 million for Jordan.  Further, the committee report notes:

“The Committee notes the importance of Bahrain to the security interests of the United States and allies in the region. However, the Committee is concerned that actions by the Government of Bahrain to limit freedom of expression, association and assembly, and reports of excessive force, unfair trials, and mistreatment of prisoners could have negative consequences for U.S. interests in Bahrain. The Committee is also concerned with acts of violence against the government by some protestors. The Committee notes that some of the most important reforms recommended by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry have not been implemented. The Committee intends that no crowd control items shall be provided to Bahrain during fiscal year 2014, and notes that none are included in the President’s budget request. The Committee directs that the report required by section 7010 of this act [on the uses of FMF, IMET, and peacekeeping operations funds] shall include a description of any such items provided to foreign security forces.”

“Funds appropriated by this Act may not be used for tear gas, small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or other items for crowd control purposes for foreign security forces that use excessive force to repress peaceful expression, association, or assembly in countries undergoing democratic transition.”

“The Committee notes that Morocco is a strategic ally in North Africa where the United States has an interest in preventing terrorism and promoting democracy.” Further, the Committee directs the Secretary of State to report on “steps taken by Morocco to release political prisoners and support a human rights monitoring and reporting role for the U.N. Mission in Western Sahara in cooperation with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

TITLE V – MULTILATERAL ASSISTANCE

The Committee provides (under Title VIII) $5 million for the Transition Fund, a new multi-donor trust fund to assist Arab countries in transition, including Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, and Yemen.

TITLE VI – EXPORT AND INVESTMENT ASSISTANCE

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC): The Committee recommends $71.8 million for administrative expenses of OPIC and $31 million for the cost of direct and guaranteed loans. These levels represent an increase of 30 percent and 24 percent, respectively, from the FY13 enacted levels. The bill also authorizes, in Title VIII, $20 million from ESF to be transferred to OPIC funds.

TITLE VII – GENERAL PROVISIONS

Coups D’etat: Sec. 7008 on coups d’etat is renewed, and maintains a prohibition on direct “assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree […] in which the military plays a decisive role.”

Notification Requirements: Sec. 7015 of the bill requires that none of the funds appropriated under titles III through VI shall be expended for assistance for Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen “except as provided through the regular notification procedures of the Committees on Appropriations.”

National Budget and Contract Transparency: Sec. 7031 of the bill requires the Secretary of State to develop “minimum requirements of fiscal transparency” (including public disclosure of national budget information) for each government receiving assistance through appropriations by this Act no later than 90 days after its enactment.  For each government identified, the Secretary of State must then “make a determination of `significant progress’ or `no significant progress’ in meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency, and make such determinations publicly available in an annual `Fiscal Transparency Report’ to be posted on the Department of State’s Web site.”

Democracy Programs: Sec. 7032 of the bill designates $2.85 billion for democracy programs.  In addition to the standard definition of such programs, a new provision is included for “programs that rescue scholars from countries denying freedom of expression.” The bill renews the “Brownback Amendment,” which states that “the organizations implementing such [democracy] assistance, the specific nature of that assistance, and the participants in such programs shall not be subject to prior approval by the government of any foreign country.”

Special Provisions: Sec. 7034 of the bill includes a special provision restricting funds for the provision of crowd control items (echoing similar language in Title IV), including “tear gas, small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or other items for crowd control purposes for foreign security forces that use excessive force to repress peaceful expression, association, or assembly in countries undergoing democratic transition.”  The bill renews limitations on ESF to the Palestinian Authority if the Palestinians obtain membership as a state in the U.N. or any specialized agency, or the Palestinians initiate or support an International Criminal Court investigation against Israelis for alleged crimes – both provisions may be waived on the basis of national security. This section funds the Office of Global Women’s Issues (GWI) headed by a Coordinator for Global Women’s Issues in the State Department, and the committee report provides $2.5 million for the GWI “Full Participation Fund.”  Finally, the committee report includes $22.5 million for the Arab Spring Regional Impact Initiative.

Middle East and North Africa: Sec. 7041 contains additional conditions for assistance to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including:

EGYPT

(1) Funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for the Government of Egypt may only be obligated in the following manner—

(A) 25 percent of such funds may be made available after enactment of this Act;

(B) 25 percent of such funds may be made available if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the Government of Egypt is supporting inclusive political processes and institutions, including permitting pro-democracy and other civil society organizations to operate freely, has released political prisoners, and is not prosecuting political cases in military courts; [national security waiver included in paragraph 5 below]

(C) 25 percent of such funds may be made available if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that credible elections have been conducted in Egypt and a democratically elected government is in place; and [national security waiver included in paragraph 5 below]

(D) 25 percent of such funds may be made available if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the newly elected Government of Egypt is taking steps to govern democratically and protect human rights and the rule of law (including the rights of women and religious minorities). [no national security waiver is included for this provision]

(2) None of the funds appropriated by this Act that are available for assistance for the Government of Egypt may be made available if such government is not abiding by the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.

(3) The President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees, concurrent with the fiscal year 2015 budget request, a comprehensive and strategic review of military and economic assistance for Egypt. Such review shall include a detailed description of the purposes of such assistance, and the specific goals and objectives of furthering political, military, and economic reforms in Egypt, including:

(A) supporting democratic institutions (including an independent legislature and judiciary), an inclusive political process, and regular conduct of free and fair elections at all levels of government;

(B) promoting the rule of law (including equal access to justice, protection of the rights of women and religious minorities, and anti-corruption efforts);

(C) supporting economic reforms (including transparent and accountable governance, private sector-led growth and job creation, and trade expansion);

(D) fostering a vibrant civil society (including free and independent media);

(E) supporting security sector reform (including civilian police forces); and

(F) combating terrorism (including eliminating smuggling networks between Egypt and Gaza in the Sinai).

(4) Notwithstanding any provision of this Act, the Secretary of State shall reduce the amount of assistance for Egypt under the heading `Economic Support Fund’ by an amount the Secretary determines is equivalent to that expended by the United States Government for bail, and by nongovernmental organizations for legal and court fees, associated with democracy-related trials in Egypt.

(5)(A) The Secretary of State may waive the requirements of paragraph (1)(B) not earlier than 3 months after enactment of this Act if the Secretary of State certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that to do so is important to the national security interests of the United States.

(B) The Secretary of State may waive the requirements of paragraph (1)(C) not earlier than 6 months after enactment of this Act if the Secretary certifies to such committees that to do so is important to the national security interests of the United States.

IRAQ

The bill provides $25 million for democracy programs through State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), and provides INCLE and NADR funding to Iraq only “if matched by sources other than the United States Government.”  The bill also prohibits funding for Consulate Basrah until the Secretary of State submits a report “assessing cost effective, operational alternatives for such facility, including closure of the Consulate and coverage of Basrah from Embassy Baghdad.”  The committee report notes that $15.3 million for USAID operations in Iraq will “be provided in a manner that accelerates the agency’s departure from that country, currently scheduled for 2015.”  Finally, the report states that assistance from the CFCF heading should be made available to help mitigate sectarian violence in Iraq related to the “destabilizing impact” of the conflict in Syria.

LEBANON

FMF for Lebanon is restricted to programs designed to professionalize the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and to strengthen border security and combat terrorism.

LIBYA

The bill prohibits all funds to Libya for infrastructure projects, “except on a loan basis with terms favorable to the United States,” and only following consultation with the Committees on Appropriations.

SYRIA

The bill allows for funds in titles III and IV (ESF and FMF) as assistance to Syria, provided such programs seek to: (A) establish governance in Syria that is representative, inclusive, and accountable; (B) develop and implement political processes that are democratic, transparent, and adhere to the rule of law; (C) further the legitimacy of the Syrian opposition through cross-border programs; (D) develop civil society and an independent media in Syria; (E) promote economic development in Syria; (F) document, investigate, and prosecute human rights violations in Syria, including through transitional justice programs and support for nongovernmental organizations; and (G) counter extremist ideologies.

Before any funds can be spent, the bill also requires the Secretary of State to submit a comprehensive strategy in Syria, including “a clear mission statement, achievable objectives and timelines, and a description of inter-agency and donor coordination and implementation of such strategy.”

War Crimes Tribunals: Sec. 7047 of the bill provides funding for “training and technical assistance for, and professional and in-kind support of, the International Criminal Court in its investigations, apprehensions, and prosecutions of Joseph Kony, Omar al-Bashir, [and] Bashar al-Assad.”

United Nations: Sec. 7048 of the bill restricts funds to the UN Human Rights Council only if the Secretary of State reports “that participation in the Council is in the national interest of the United States.”

Gender Equality: Sec. 7059 of the bill provides $50 million from ESF “to increase leadership opportunities for women in countries where women and girls suffer discrimination due to law, policy, or practice, by strengthening protections for women’s political status, expanding women’s participation in political parties and elections, and increasing women’s opportunities for leadership positions in the public and private sectors at the local, provincial, and national levels.”

Reconciliation Programs: Section 7060 of the bill provides $10 million for programs to “bring together individuals of different ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds from areas of civil strife and war” in the Middle East.

Global Internet Freedom:  Section 7072 of the bill provides $44.6 million to promote Internet freedom, and such programs “shall be prioritized for countries whose governments restrict freedom of expression on the Internet, and that are important to the national interests of the United States.”  Internet freedom programs should “support the efforts of civil society to counter the development of repressive Internet-related laws and regulations, including countering threats to Internet freedom at international organizations; to combat violence against bloggers and other users; and to enhance digital security training and capacity building for democracy activists; and made available for research of key threats to Internet freedom.” The committee report also recommends $19.6 million for the BBG’s Internet freedom and circumvention programs, “a two-fold increase above current program levels.”  The report also recommends $5 million for the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues.

Establishment of the Broadcasting Board of Governors Chief Executive Officer Position: The committee report cites concern with the “dysfunction and poor management of the BBG as identified by the OIG,” and Sec. 7082 provides new authority to the BBQ to hire a Chief Executive Officer for a 5-year term, renewable at the Board’s discretion.

 

TITLE VIII – OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS/GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM

The committee report recommends a total of $6.5 billion for overseas contingency operations for the Department of State, USAID, and related agency and programs.  Additional funding provided in this title which is relevant to the Middle East and North Africa has been cited in the corresponding titles and programs, above.