The Collective Public Policy Voice of the Exchange Community

By: Mark Overmann

The Alliance and our members are very concerned about the proposed 2.7% cut to educational and cultural exchanges in the House bill advanced by the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee earlier this week. If enacted, this would further compound the constraints on programming as a result of the 4.7% cut in the enacted FY24 bill.

At a time when the United States is facing significant and increased global challenges, further reducing funding for these programs that foster strong people-to-people connections is detrimental to our foreign policy goals, both in the short and long-term.

We understand that House appropriators are facing a particularly tough budget environment that requires them to make difficult decisions. However, as other countries around the world are increasing their investment in people-to-people exchanges, we feel it would be a missed opportunity to decrease funding for Department of State programs that are critical to sharing American values worldwide.

The Alliance appreciates the continued inclusion of the Department of State BridgeUSA program provision in the House bill and urges Congress to extend that longstanding bipartisan support to fully funding the educational and cultural exchange account. We look forward to our ongoing bipartisan engagement in both chambers in support of a robust appropriation for these programs.