The Cable

Congress prepares to pass new measure hitting Iran’s oil industry

As the clock winds down on President Obama’s year-end deadline for Iran to respond to his efforts at engagement, Congress is preparing to pass language restricting U.S. loans that aid the Islamic Republic’s oil industry. The policy language is part of the fiscal 2010 state and foreign operations appropriations bill, which is moving on the ...

As the clock winds down on President Obama’s year-end deadline for Iran to respond to his efforts at engagement, Congress is preparing to pass language restricting U.S. loans that aid the Islamic Republic’s oil industry.

The policy language is part of the fiscal 2010 state and foreign operations appropriations bill, which is moving on the Hill as part of a mammoth catch-all spending bill that’s expected to move through both chambers this month. The bill would prevent the Export-Import Bank of the United States "from providing credit, insurance, or guarantees to any project controlled by any energy producers or refiners that contribute significantly to Iran’s refined petroleum resources," according to a summary document.

It’s been more than a month since the new fiscal year started and several federal agencies are operating under a stop-gap funding measure called a "continuing resolution" that keeps the government humming but doesn’t allow for new funding initiatives to begin. That expires on Dec. 18, giving a semi-firm deadline for Congress to pass the real funding bills.

Democrats had promised not to resort to using such sloppy means of doling out appropriations, as was the usual practice in the Bush administration. But they got hampered by other priorities and the GOP stalled the process further by making issues out of things like funding for prisoners being transferred from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Overall, the state and foreign ops funding would be $48.8 billion of discretionary budget authority for fiscal year 2010, $3.3 billion below the president’s request. That’s also about $1.2 billion less than what was given in fiscal 2009 including supplemental bills. A fiscal 2010 supplemental is widely expected.

Sources tell The Cable that for fiscal 2011 the administration request will be about 11 percent above that level, or at least that’s the number decided on by the White House Office of Management and Budget, subject to further ongoing negotiations. OMB declined to comment.

Here are some of the other highlights in the bill:

  • Diplomatic and Consular Programs: $8.227 billion, $1.164 billion above 2009 and $733 million below the request, for diplomatic operations and to hire more than 700 new Foreign Service personnel
  • Operating Expenses for USAID: $1.39 billion, $330 million above 2009 and $50 million below the request, to allow USAID to hire 300 additional Foreign Service Officers as part of the Development Leadership Initiative (DLI)
  • Assistance for Afghanistan: $2.611 billion, $4 million below the 2009 enacted level including supplemental appropriations and $151 million below the request;
  • Assistance for Pakistan: $1.459 billion, $17.5 million above the 2009 enacted level including supplemental appropriations and $123.5 million below the request; and
  • Assistance for Iraq: $467 million, $142 million below the request
  • Assistance for Israel: $2.220 billion, which combined with the $555 million of forward funding in the 2009 supplemental is the same as the $2.775 billion in the request
  • Assistance for Egypt: $1.295 billion in economic and security assistance, which when combined with the $260 million in forward funding in the 2009 supplemental is the same as the request
  • Assistance for Jordan: $543 million in economic and security assistance, which when combined with the $150 million in forward funding in the 2009 supplemental is the same as the request
  • Assistance for Mexico: $231.6 million, which when combined with $254 million in forward funding for Mexico in the 2009 supplemental, results in a total of $485.6 million for bilateral programs for counternarcotics, law enforcement, and development assistance programs
  • Assistance for Central America: $83 million for regional security and law enforcement programs with the countries of Central America
  • Assistance for the Caribbean: $37 million for a new Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which seeks to achieve security and prosperity in the region
  • Assistance for Colombia: $522 million
  • HIV/AIDS: $5.709 billion (including $350 million for AUSAID HIV/AIDS programs), $200 million above 2009 and $100 million above the request, for international HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs including $750 million for multilateral programs through the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
  • USAID Global Health and Child Survival Programs: $2.42 billion to USAID, including for HIV/AIDS, which when combined with $50 million for global pandemic programs in the FY 2009 supplemental is $134 million above the request and $440 million above 2009, for other global health programs
 Twitter: @joshrogin

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