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Special Budget Day Briefing Skipper

Special Budget Day Briefing Skipper


In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Monday’s budget briefing by Deputy Secretary of State Jack Lew:

  • The State Department and USAID budget request of $52.8 billion for fiscal 2011 is $4.9 billion more than fiscal 2010 appropriated levels, but $3.6 billion of that is just for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Lew said. The $1.3 billion increase in the other accounts represents a 2.7 percent rise.
  • As the Defense Department withdraws from Iraq, State will have to pick up the slack, so the request asks for a $2 billion increase in the regular budget for Iraq and $2.5 billion more in Iraq money in the supplemental. "The programs in Iraq will improve police training, rule-of-law programs, and a transition from the current military footprint to a more normal diplomatic and development program," said Lew. Diplomatic outposts will be freestanding with no connection to military bases.
  • The budget requests $8.5 billion for Global Heath Initiative, $1.8 billion for multilateral programs, $646 million to help move toward the Copenhagen commitment on climate change in the State-USAID budget request, part of $1.4 billion requested for climate change government wide.
  • On Afghanistan, the administration is requesting $4.9 billion in the fiscal 2011 regular budget and $1.8 billion in the fiscal 2010 supplemental. So that would make for a total of about $5.3 billion for fiscal 2010 ($3.3 billion was already appropriated), meaning Afghanistan funding could actually go down a bit in 2011 compared to 2010. That’s largely due to the fact that the surge is this summer, Lew said. "We’re talking about a program where the timing of the expenditures from month to month doesn’t match the fiscal year perfectly."
  • The administration is also looking to increase the number of civilians in Afghanistan higher than previous plans. There are about 900 U.S. government civilians there now, 200-300 more were planned, but "I suspect that the numbers will be several hundred more in 2010, and then, again, they’ll increase in 2011," Lew said. State supports a program to reintegrate insurgents, but that money will come from the Pentagon budget.
  • On Pakistani assistance, the administration is requesting $3 billion in the fiscal 2011 budget, and $344 million in the fiscal 2010 supplemental. The fiscal 2010 funding so far has been $1.5 billion, so that account is definitely going up if Congress plays along. That’s mostly due to the new PCCF funding, which is now to be housed at State.
  • No money in the request for Haiti disaster relief, but that’s coming. "We’re working through those issues now… and I think we’ll have more to say about that shortly," Lew said. An amendment to the supplemental request, perhaps? The Cable heard the current estimate is about $900 million. There is a $379 million request for Haiti assistance, but that’s not related to the earthquake.
  • Yemen assistance funding would go up in the fiscal 2011 budget request from $67 million to $106 million. "It would enhance Yemen’s air force; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability; and increase the counterterrorism training for the security forces; and some funding for the Yemen coast guard and border guards and special ops forces," Lew said.