Yesterday, the Senate passed a two-year, bipartisan budget agreement (H.J. Res. 59) that sets the stage for the negotiation of final fiscal year 2014 appropriations. While it is too early to tell what the specific implications may be for international family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) funding and policy, the relaxation of sequestration and the inclusion of more robust funding for non-defense discretionary programs are positive signs.
The leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees have already started discussions to set new top-line allocations for the 12 subcommittee bills. Assuming that the amount of overall funding allotted to the State Department-foreign operations appropriations bill is closer to that used by the Senate committee in approving its version back in July, the likelihood that FP/RH funding will stay at about current levels and remain under existing policy restrictions increases.
If this is the case, how will a final FY 2014 funding level compare to the FY 2013 number? In reviewing the foreign assistance dashboard that tracks the U.S. government’s international affairs spending, the “actual base” appropriation for FY 2013 for international FP/RH totaled $610.4 million.
While FY 2013 funding is $28 million lower than FY 2012 as a result of the sequestration process mandated under the Budget Control Act, the percentage cut to FP/RH funding was slightly less than the 5 percent cut applied across-the-board to discretionary federal programs. This was due to adjustments made to the funding formula in the FY 2013 continuing resolution that provided some measure of relief to global health programs, including FP/RH. In other words, FP/RH funding fared slightly better under sequestration cuts than almost all other discretionary federal programs and was not specifically subjected to a larger reduction for political reasons.
And that is good news in the reality of today’s budgetary and political environment, sad to say.
For additional analysis, and the full breakdown of family planning funding numbers, see our Washington Memo.
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