While much of the country and the world had been focused on whether or not the U.S. debt ceiling would be raised by August 2, the U.S. House of Representatives was continuing its work on discretionary funding for Fiscal Year 2012. The House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State/ Foreign Operations approved its version of the legislation, which would make deep cuts in State Department operations and foreign aid. While it is not surprising that the Republican-crafted bill includes deep cuts, Democrats such as Nina Lowey (D-NY) noted the impact that the legislation would have on mitigating the current famine in Africa. “This legislation would be a step back from U.S. leadership and substantially weaken the United States’ efforts overseas by decreasing economic opportunity, stability and access to critical services for millions of the world’s poorest people,” Lowey said.
The House subcommittee bill includes a total of $39.6 billion in regular discretionary funding, $8.6 billion or 18 per cent below last year’s level. In addition, the bill includes $7.6 billion for “Global War on Terror” funding, for a total of $47.2 billion.