Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2009 State And Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved Fiscal Year 2009 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations legislation that strengthens American diplomacy, advances international security, invests in clean energy, and promotes international economic development and global health.  The legislation provides $36.62 billion in discretionary funding, which is $3.82 billion above the FY 2008 enacted level.  In addition, $3.42 billion was provided as FY 2009 bridge funding in the recently enacted emergency supplemental legislation. 

“America’s standing in the world has suffered terrible damage as a result of the current Administration’s failed diplomacy.  This legislation sets out the right priorities as our nation prepares to turn the page to the next chapter in American foreign policy.  I applaud Chairman Leahy and the members of the subcommittee for crafting strong legislation that projects America’s best values,” said U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, stated “This bill represents a major step toward replenishing the budget for diplomacy and foreign assistance that has suffered serious shortfalls in recent years, largely due to the strains caused by the growth in budget expenses for Iraq and Afghanistan.  Including funds appropriated for FY09 in the FY08 supplemental bill, we provide the full amount requested for State Department operations, and an additional $50 million for USAID operations.  We provide large increases for global health, disaster relief, peacekeeping, and international security programs.  We have reduced funding for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, but this should not be misinterpreted as a lack of support for the MCC.  We want it to succeed, and we intend to fund future compacts.  But with a pipeline of $7.5 billion and just $235 million disbursed, it makes sense first to process the billions that have already been appropriated.  We want to see more results before we sign new compacts.” 


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