Last week the House passed a mini-spending package for FY2021 that included $65.9 billion for diplomacy and foreign assistance. In passing this spending package (H.R. 7608) the House has once again rejected President Trump’s proposed cuts to diplomacy, development, and peacebuilding.
Here are five things we are celebrating:
1. More money for global COVID-19 response
In addition to triggering a global public health emergency, the fallout from COVID-19 is decimating economies and exacerbating conflict dynamics. The House package includes $10 billion in emergency funding for the international COVID-19 response to help contain the pandemic and respond to its secondary effects. This critical funding is four times the level of international assistance provided in previous COVID-19 emergency supplemental packages.
2. Full funding for peacebuilding
The House has once again rejected the Trump administration’s efforts to cut diplomacy and foreign assistance. The $55.9 billion in regular funding for the State Department and USAID, is $1.2 billion more than last year and $11.8 billion more than the President’s budget request.
Combined with steady funding for peacebuilding and conflict prevention accounts, the package increases support for human rights and democracy globally by $50 million more than last year. The House also directs the State Department to “integrate community peacebuilding programs” in its response to the security crisis in the Sahel and called on USAID to “encourage the inclusive and meaningful participation of youth in peacebuilding and conflict prevention.”
3. New funds for Women, Peace and Security
For the first time, there is also explicit funding for the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The $130 million will support the U.S. Women, Peace and Security Strategy expansions and improvements to U.S. efforts to empower women as equal partners in conflict prevention, mitigation, resolution, and recovery.
4. Republicans reject cuts to diplomacy
The House overwhelmingly rejected Rep. Rick Allen’s (GA-12) proposed 5% cut to the diplomacy and development budget in a vote of 329-88. Not only did Republican leaders, such as Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Hal Rogers (KY-05), speak out against the proposal, the majority of Republicans voted against the amendment.
5. Strong support for international cooperation
Shunning the Trump administration’s isolationism during this global crisis, the House made clear its commitment to international organizations and multilateral cooperation by fully funding U.S. dues to the United Nations regular budget and requiring that the U.S. pay its full dues of $118 million to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The House passed-packaged puts us in a strong position for advancing peace and diplomacy. Now the Senate must act! With the Federal fiscal year ending September 30, the Senate has just a few short months to release, review, and pass its funding bills. We will continue to work with Congress to ensure peacebuilding and diplomacy receive the robust funding they need.