Congress Passes 2020 Appropriations Package

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    Ven Suresh

    This week, Congress passed the final Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations package, which fends off a government shutdown and provides federal funding until Oct. 1, 2020. This package consists of two separate bills that together contain all 12 appropriations bills. The president is expected to sign the bills ahead of the December 20 deadline.

    In the final FY20 appropriations package, the International Affairs Budget totals $56.6 billion, a slight increase above the FY19 enacted level. Department of State/USAID funding totals $54.7 billion, of which $47.6 billion is base discretionary funding and $8 billion is Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. Overseas Programs, the funding stream for sending members of the Foreign Service to posts abroad, increased by more than $500 million from the FY19 level.

    The package also included congressional language for State and USAID funds to restore the number of Foreign Service officers to pre-hiring freeze levels, consistent with staffing levels funded in Fiscal Year 2016.

    Additionally, the package contains the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act, a key AFSA priority highlighting the importance of economic diplomacy in an increasingly competitive world. This bill increases economic and commercial diplomacy training, seeks to improve awareness of government services that support U.S. businesses overseas, and provides for a whole-of-government coordination and consultation to support American business interests.

    Finally, the appropriations package includes a federal civilian employee 2.6 percent across-the-board increase in base pay with an additional 0.5 percent in locality adjustments, for a total average pay raise of 3.1 percent.

    AFSA is grateful for Congress’s commitment to robust funding for the International Affairs Budget, our diplomatic corps, and development programs!

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