This morning, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee voted to approve a bill that includes dangerous cuts to international family planning and destructive policy “riders.” The legislation is virtually identical to last year’s House bill in its hostile funding and policy provisions. As Yogi Berra famously observed, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
The committee-approved bill, which funds the State Department operations and U.S. foreign assistance programs, places a ceiling on funding for family planning and reproductive health programs at $461 million. The size of the cut is $94 million less than current levels and $174 million less than the President’s budget request. The bill also includes destructive, ideological policy restrictions that undermine access to contraception for poor women in the developing world. These include a legislative reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule and a prohibition on a U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the lead UN agency on reproductive health issues.
For more on today’s action and the cuts, see our full Washington Memo. And stay tuned for more budget coverage tomorrow, when the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up its vastly better version of a FY 2014 State Department-foreign operations bill.