The Collective Public Policy Voice of the Exchange Community

By Mark Overmann

On Thursday, June 20, 2024, lawmakers introduced three amendments to the FY25 House State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) funding bill that threatened to cut funding and programming for educational and cultural exchanges (ECE).  

In response, the Alliance sent letters to the House Committee on Rules on behalf of the Alliance membership and BridgeUSA Coalition, and reached out directly to 260 House offices, encouraging Representatives to vote no on the amendments and make statements on the House floor in support of exchanges. Both Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA, 12) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY, 5) made statements against the amendments and in support of exchanges. 

The Alliance also organized a grassroots letter campaign, sending 2,456 letters to 391 Representatives encouraging them to vote against the amendments and support educational and cultural exchanges. 

Thanks to the exchange community’s rapid response and outreach, all three FY25 House SFOPS funding bill amendments that threatened the future of educational and cultural exchanges were defeated. 

  • Amendment 38 (#158) introduced by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL, 21), which would have eliminated Department of State exchange program funding, was withdrawn the night of Wednesday, June 26, 2024. 
  • Amendment 1 (#83) introduced by Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK, 2), which would have reduced funding for exchanges by $20 million, to FY19 levels, was voted down 246-164 on the House floor the morning of Thursday, June 27, 2024. 
  • Amendment 13 (#15) introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ, 9) which would have prohibited funding for the TechCamp program, was voted down 254-156 on the House floor the morning of Thursday, June 27, 2024.