WASHINGTON – On June 21, 2018, the Senate cleared the FY2019 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, which allocates funding for different initiatives nationally as well as overseas. The Foreign Operations bill has new implications for efforts to reduce global poverty and increase the quality of life overseas, especially for developing countries. These are 10 major ways the Foreign Operations bill works to improve lives worldwide.
Impact of the Senate Foreign Operations Bill
- Aid to Jordan
The Foreign Operations bill allocates $1.5 billion for economic and military assistance to Jordan. This will work to improve the quality of life of citizens affected by war in the region. Additionally, if passed, this bill would supply $50 million in relief and recovery funds to the people of Jordan to assist those that are in the midst of conflict.
- Aid to Tunisia
One of the bill’s highlights is its plan to give $165.4 million to Tunisia for assistance in alleviating the nation’s poverty. Tunisia would also receive $50 million in relief and recovery funds to help those that are in desperate situations.
- Aid for Liberation
The Senate has proposed $250 million in relief and recovery funds for areas that have been liberated from extremist groups such as the Islamic State. These funds aim to help the liberated regions develop and grow democratically. This is part of an effort to prevent extremist groups from being able to overtake vulnerable nations. These funds would go toward strengthening the areas that would be most susceptible to extremist groups in the future, so as to prevent extremist groups from increasing in power.
- Spreading Democracy
The Foreign Operations Bill allocates $2.4 billion to democracy programs that seek to promote democracy in regions that are suffering under oppressive regimes. Additionally, it would supply $170 million to the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit foundation that works to grow and strengthen democratic systems globally. These allocations would result in a $91.5 million increase from the FY2018 levels of support for democracy internationally.
- Aid for Central America
The FY2019 bill proposes $515.5 million in assistance to Central American countries. This is part of the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, which is a bipartisan, multi-year governmental plan. This plan seeks to promote institutional reforms in Central America that address developmental challenges, high rates of violent crime, weak judicial systems and extreme poverty. This proposition sees an increase of $80 million more than the budget request.
- Aid for Venezuela
The bill will allot $20 million for aid to Venezuela to promote democracy and rule of law. This is to support the Venezuelan people, who are largely impoverished under the nation’s current regime.
- Assistance for Refugees
The Senate has planned to assign $3.4 billion to migration and refugee assistance. This will work to protect those impacted by conflict and other disasters, both natural and manmade.
- International Disaster Assistance
The FY2018 level of disaster assistance was $4.3 billion, but this year, the Senate has proposed an increase of $100 million, making the total number of funds allocated to international disaster assistance $4.4 billion.
- Global Health Programs
The Foreign Operations bill includes a total of $8.8 billion for global health programs. This includes efforts to fight malaria ($755 million), HIV/AIDS ($6 billion), polio ($59 million), tuberculosis ($275 million) and neglected tropical diseases ($106 million). Maternal and child health would receive $829.5 million, and $135 million would go to nutrition assistance.
- International Security Assistance
This bill would provide $8.8 billion for counterterrorism and nonproliferation programs ($860.7 million), peacekeeping operations ($477.4 million), international military education and training programs ($110.7 million) and foreign military financing programs ($5.9 billion). These efforts will help nations that are vulnerable to extremist regimes to be able to fight against those that would perpetuate poverty, hunger and oppression in their nations.
The FY2019 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act is currently not yet law. However, if passed, this bill will result in great improvements to the fight against poverty and deprivation worldwide.
– Theresa Marino