House and Senate Committees Reject Sharp Foreign Assistance Cuts Proposed by Administration

Budgets for State Department and USAID Approved with Funding Similar to Last Year

The Senate and House of Representatives have unveiled their budgets for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the coming year—and it’s good news for the food security, nutrition, WASH, and humanitarian programs that are essential to Action Against Hunger’s work around the globe. 

Overall, the funding levels are similar to those in last year’s final Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill. Once again, Congress rejected steep cuts asked for by the Trump administration in its annual President’s budget request.

In other good news, both the House and Senate provided increases for the nutrition budget – Action Against Hunger has long advocated more robust funding for this account. The Senate also provided an increase of $35 million for the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) account, after several years of flat funding.

The House Bill

The House FY19 State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill provides a total of $54 billion for the State Department and USAID, the same amount of funding as last year.

  • Nutrition—The nutrition account received an increase to $145 million, compared to $125 million last year. Until now, funding for this account has remained flat, so this increase is welcome news. Action Against Hunger and others in the nutrition community have been advocating for increasing the nutrition budget for the past several years.
  • Development Assistance—The Development Assistance account, which fuels programs around the world designed to reduce poverty, support education, improve agricultural production, and a whole lot more—received $3 billion, the same level as FY18.
  • International Disaster Assistance (IDA)—The IDA account, which helps save lives in the wake of disasters like earthquakes, conflicts, and floods, was funded at approximately $4.3 billion, the same as last year.
  • Clean Water and Safe Sanitation—The water account, which funds water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities, received $400 million, identical to last year.
  • Feed the Future—The U.S. government’s flagship food security program was funded at last year’s level of just over $1 billion.
  • Maternal/Child Health—Maternal and child health was increased to $845 million, up from $829.5 million last year.

In their report accompanying the budget bill, the House included strong legislative language in support of nutrition:

“The Committee supports effective nutrition interventions, including to reduce stunting and wasting, increase breastfeeding and nutrition supplementation for pregnant women, promote early childhood development, and treat severe malnutrition.”

The Senate Bill

Meanwhile, the Senate bill provides $54.4 billion for State and USAID, including a $35 million increase for water, sanitation, and hygiene. Funding levels in the bill include:

  • Development Assistance—Development assistance was funded by the Senate at $3 billion, the same level as last year.
  • International Disaster Assistance—approximately $4.4 billion, slightly higher than the House level and a slight increase over last year’s funding.
  • Clean Water and Safe Sanitation—The Senate funds the water, sanitation, and hygiene account at $435 million—a $35 million increase over last year, and the first increase for WASH in several years.
  • Feed the Future—Feed the Future was level-funded at approximately $1 billion.
  • Nutrition—The nutrition account was funded at $135 million—lower than the House level, but still an increase of $10 million over last year.
  • Maternal/Child Health—The maternal/child health account was funded at $829.5 million, the same level as last year.

Both the House and Senate appropriations committees have approved these budgets. Next up: a vote by the full House and Senate on the bills. If those votes fail to happen, they could potentially combine the State/Foreign Operations bills into a larger legislative package known as an omnibus. 

It remains unclear whether the appropriations process will wrap up by the official September 30th deadline, when Congress adjourns prior to the upcoming elections. Action Against Hunger will continue to advocate for strong funding for nutrition, health, and other programs crucial to our mission, and will track the appropriations process and provide updates as they become available.

Action Against Hunger thanks both the Senate and House of Representatives for strongly funding the nutrition, food security, disaster assistance, and water, sanitation, and hygiene budget accounts. These funds help fuel our work, and are critical to the lives and well-being of vulnerable men, women, and children around the world.

Action Against Hunger is leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocates for change, and reaches 25 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 50 countries, its 8,300 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.