Committee approves FY 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill

The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2015 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill on Tuesday on a voice vote, providing $48.3 billion in discretionary and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.

The funding is $708 million below the enacted level for fiscal year 2014 and $277 million below President Obama's request for the programs. Within the $48.3 billion allocated, $5.9 billion would go toward operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as humanitarian and stabilization efforts throughout the globe.

"We live in a time of global uncertainty and instability, and it is vital to our national security and well-being that the United States maintains a leadership role in the world," Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said. "We must prioritize our funding and have done so by maintaining critical diplomatic efforts, supporting continued humanitarian aid, and protecting the safety and security of Americans abroad, while cutting lower-priority programs or those that we simply cannot afford at this time."

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the House State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, said the bill focuses on programs to keep the U.S. and its allies secure with a focus on Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

"This is a national security bill that prioritizes funding for embassy security, democracy assistance, our strategic partners such as Israel, and life-saving health and refugee programs," Granger said. "In addition, the bill focuses on combating human trafficking especially in high-risk areas such as Central America, and combats wildlife poaching which has been a priority for this subcommittee since I took over as chair. Further, the bill spends less than last year by terminating or scaling back some programs in order to fund the highest priorities that are in our national security interest."