By Andrea Bodine
With the end of the Fiscal Year quickly approaching on September 30, Congress is racing to finish its work on the FY24 appropriations bills before heading out on August recess next week.
Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have completed their subcommittee and full committee markups of their respective State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) bills in recent weeks. Educational and cultural exchanges were funded at $700.95M (approx. 10% decrease) by the House bill and $779.5M (approx. 0.25% increase) by the Senate bill. See the chart below for more details and a comparison with the President’s budget request and current enacted level.
Here are the key things you need to know:
- We know from the details available that notable cuts in the House bill impact Professional and Cultural Exchanges, including the International Visitor Leadership Program. The bill also includes a slight decrease for Academic Programs, but outlines increases for Young Leaders Initiatives.
- On the other hand, the Senate bill holds Professional and Cultural Exchanges steady, and provides increases to Exchanges Support and the American Spaces program. However, it also includes cuts to the Academic Programs topline.
- The funding cuts in the House bill, while disappointing, are not unexpected given the change in majority, debt ceiling deal, and concessions made by Speaker McCarthy in his campaign for the role. We are heartened by the slight increase in the Senate bill, which is a win in this difficult climate.
- There will be a challenging road ahead to find a compromise between these two bills. In the 11 legislative days after the upcoming August recess and before the end of the fiscal year, lawmakers must overcome not only the divide over funding in the bills, but also pressure from House Republicans for even more cuts and a desire to pass each of the twelve appropriations bills individually.
These appropriations bills remind us of how important our collective advocacy was this cycle in avoiding severe cuts in this particularly tight funding environment. They also demonstrate the long journey to reach our funding goals and therefore, how we must keep up the pressure and not become complacent after the past number of years with steady increases.
- House bill text (pg. 4 for ECE funding level), report (pg. 18 for detailed budget table), press release
- Senate bill text (pg. 8 for ECE funding level), report (pg. 20 for detailed budget table), press release
|FY23 Adjusted Enacted||FY24 Biden Administration Request||FY24 House Bill||FY24 Senate Bill|
|Total||777.5 M||783.7 M||700.95 M||779.5 M|
|Madeleine K. Albright Young Women Leaders Program||1500||1,500||1,500|
|Global Academic Exchanges||63,981||62,702||63,981|
|Special Academic Exchanges||22,158||18,875||22,133||22,158|
|Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship Program||17,000||16,200||17,000||17,000|
|South Pacific Scholarships||1,000||1,000||1,000||1,000|
|Vietnam Education Foundation Act||2,500||2,500|
|Professional and Cultural Exchanges||227,500||222,515||185,759||227,500|
|International Visitor Program||105,000||102,627||100,151||105,000|
|Citizen Exchanges Program||115,000||113,388||115,000|
|Congress-Bundestag Exchange Program||4,125||4,125|
|Special Professional and Cultural Exchanges||7,000||6,500||7500|
|Ngwang Choephel Fellows||750||750||750||750|
|J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange||6,000||5,000||6,000|
|Arctic Exchange Program||750||750||750||750|
|Young Leaders Initiatives||37,500||48,814||43,100||37,500|
|Countering State Disinformation and Pressure||12,000||12,000||12,000|
|Community Engagement Exchange Program||6,000||6,000||6,000|
|Pawel Adamowicz Exchange Program||1,000||1,000||1,000|
|Program and Performance||15,800||13,530||13,500|