FY’18 appropriations
House SFOPS Subcommittee Summary (as of 7.12.17)

On Wednesday, July 12 th , the House State/Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Subcommittee released draft FY’18 appropriations legislation, which it will markup tomorrow. We anticipate another markup in the full House Appropriations Committee next week.

Overall, the bill largely conforms to our initial expectations: while it does not adopt the draconian cuts to international organizations, global health, and humanitarian assistance envisaged by the Trump Administration’s FY’18 request, it does make significant funding reductions in a number of key areas. In terms of the UN, the House bill cuts funding for UN peacekeeping operations and an account that funds our Regular Budget assessments. The draft legislation also eliminates an important State Department account that provides voluntary contributions to a number of UN agencies, including UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, and OHCHR. The House bill also continues, and even builds upon, some problematic UN-related policy riders included in prior years’ appropriations legislation.

As far as next steps are concerned, we understand that the Senate Appropriations Committee is not likely to take up its own FY’18 SFOPS bill until September. As a result, the numbers proposed in the House bill will not be Congress’s final word with regards to the FY’18 appropriations debate. Provided below is a more detailed analysis of how individual appropriations accounts fared in the House proposal.

Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA): $1,495,815,000 (includes $529.9 million in base funding, plus $965.9 million designated OCO)

 The State Department’s CIPA account funds U.S. assessments for UN peacekeeping
 The roughly $1.495 billion for CIPA provided by the House bill represents an increase of roughly $300 million over the President’s FY’18 request ($1.196 billion), but is $412 million less than the amount appropriated for CIPA in FY’17. The House SFOPS Subcommittee may argue that the amount provided for UN peacekeeping activities in their bill reflects an assessment rate of 25%, which is in line with the statutory cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping operations enacted in the mid-1990s. This is below the current U.S. assessment rate of 28.43%.
 As noted in the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) account section below, in keeping with prior years’ practice, the bill designates an unspecified portion of the PKO account to pay U.S. assessments for the UN Support Office for Somalia (UNSOS). UNSOS provides a logistical and equipment support package to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and is part of the UN’s assessed peacekeeping budget. If one uses the 25% rate to estimate the total U.S. cost of UNSOS, that adds an additional $155.5 million to what the House bill provides for UN peacekeeping activities, for a total of $1.651 billion.
 According to BWC’s rough estimates, the amount provided for UN peacekeeping operations in CIPA and PKO by the House bill would leave a significant shortfall in our FY’18 peacekeeping dues. The total UN peacekeeping budget for 2017-2018 is estimated to be $7.3 billion. The U.S. share is roughly $2.075 billion (when using the actual assessment rate of 28.43%).

        • Therefore, the amount provided for UN peacekeeping in the House bill-- $1.651 billion—puts us approximately $424 million below estimated needs.
 It should be noted that the U.S. is already facing the possibility of arrears on its peacekeeping dues this year. The final FY’17 appropriations bill, enacted in May, maintains the 25% cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping activities, leaving an estimated $289 million shortfall for FY’17. As a result, the House bill levels, if enacted, would likely only worsen an already challenging financial situation for CIPA.
 The FY’18 House bill would continue policy language from FY’16 and FY’17 regarding human trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. Specifically, the bill stipulates that no funds shall be made available under CIPA unless the Secretary of State certifies on a “peacekeeping mission-by- mission basis that the United Nations is implementing effective policies and procedures” to prevent and punish such crimes.

Peacekeeping Operations (PKO): $460,254,000 (includes $135 million in base funding, plus $325.2 million designated OCO)

 PKO provides voluntary contributions to a number of regional peacekeeping initiatives and bilateral security assistance programs.
 The FY’18 House bill’s PKO level is $149 million below the FY’17 Omnibus, but $159
million higher than the President’s FY’18 request.
 As noted above, the House bill includes an unspecified contribution to UNSOS under its OCO-designated PKO funding. In light of the Subcommittee’s alleged intention to pay our peacekeeping dues at the 25% rate, we estimate the UNSOS portion of PKO to equal roughly $155.5 million.

Contributions to International Organizations (CIO): $1,170,885,000 (includes $1.074 billion in base funding, plus $96.2 million in OCO-designated funds)

 The State Department’s CIO account funds U.S. dues payments to the UN Regular Budget and the assessed budgets of a number of other international organizations, including the IAEA, WHO, and NATO.
 The FY’18 House bill provides $189 million less for CIO than the FY’17 Omnibus, but $174 million more for the account that the Administration’s request for FY’18.
We have been informed that, as of the current moment, CIO will require $1.42 billion to fully meet U.S. assessments for the international organizations funded by the account in FY’18. The House bill would therefore leave a shortfall of nearly $250 million from anticipated needs.

International Organizations and Programs (IO&P): $0
 IO&P provides voluntary contributions to a number of UN entities, including UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), UNFPA, and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
 In FY’17, Congress appropriated $339 million for this account, while the President’s FY’18 budget calls for it to be zeroed out. It should be noted, however, that the House
Appropriations Committee has—for several years now—recommended completely
defunding IO&P in its annual SFOPS bills. Every year this has happened, the Senate has acted to restore the account. We anticipate (though we cannot say for certain) that this will be the case again in FY’18.
 Despite eliminating the account, the House bill does provide a contribution of $132 million for UNICEF (the level of funding the agency normally received from IO&P) under the Global Health Programs account in Title III of the bill.
 In keeping with the Trump Administration’s Kemp-Kasten determination, the House bill prohibits funding for UNFPA.

UN Reform Provisions
 Sec. 7048 contains language related to UN reform, much of which is similar to provisions from previous years’ appropriations bills. Nevertheless, the bill does appear makes some changes this year, including a requirement related to travel, which appears to be a response to the WHO travel expenses controversy. The provisions in this section are summarized below.

    • Subsection (a) of the bill requires the U.S. to withhold 15% of all contributions to the UN and UN agencies (including DPKO) until the Secretary of State certifies that the UN is: (1) posting on a publicly available website regular financial and programmatic audits and providing the U.S. Government with necessary access to such reports; (2) effectively implementing and enforcing best practices for the protection of whistleblowers from retaliation;  (3) “effectively implementing and enforcing policies and procedures regarding travel, including a prohibition on first class travel”.
 The first two provisions are identical to language included as part of the FY’17
Omnibus. The travel provision, however, is new.
 The bill allows the Secretary of State to waive these funding restrictions on a case-by- case basis in order to avert or respond to a humanitarian crisis.

    • Subsection (b) continues previous years’ restrictions on funding for UN bodies presided over by state sponsors of terrorism. Unlike the FY’17 bill, however, the FY’18 House version provides no authority to waive these restrictions.

    • Subsection (c) prohibits funding to support the Human Rights Council unless the Secretary determines and reports to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees that: (1) participation in the Council is in the “national security interest of the United States”; (2) the Council is taking significant steps to remove Israel as a permanent agenda item; (3) the Council is taking significant steps to “increase transparency in the election of members to such Council”.
 These requirements represent a bit of a departure from FY’17. For starters, the third certification, regarding elections to the Council, is entirely new. Furthermore, while the FY’17 bill required the Secretary of State to certify that participation in the Council is a U.S. “national interest”, the use of “national security interest” in the FY’18 House bill appears to be an attempt to toughen that requirement.

    • Subsection (d) stipulates that no funds from the Migration and Refugees Assistance (MRA) account shall be made available to UNRWA until the Secretary of State certifies that UNRWA is carrying out a range of reform measures. The funding prohibition is new: the FY’17 bill, by contrast, only required the Secretary to submit a report on UNRWA’s compliance with a Congressional reform wish-list. It did not condition funding for the agency on the achievement of said reforms. The House bill does, however, allow the Secretary to waive these restrictions in order to avert or respond to a humanitarian crisis.
Subsection (f) prohibits funding in FY’17 for the design, renovation, or construction of UN Headquarters in New York.

Multilateral Environmental Programs
 The House bill expressly prohibits funding for the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
 The House bill does not appear, as of this reading to include a contribution to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).