House passes third CR; FY16 omnibus includes $1 million increase for State Department exchanges

Earlier this morning the House passed a third continuing resolution (CR) to extend government funding for an additional six days through Dec. 22, CQ reports. The Senate is expected to vote on the CR today, and if passed, the CR will give lawmakers more time to pass the FY16 omnibus bill since the short-term CR passed last Friday (Dec. 11) is set to expire at midnight tonight.

The FY16 omnibus appropriations bill released last night would fund State Department educational and cultural exchange programs at $590.9 million. The funding level remains $32 million below the President’s FY16 request, but represents a $1.0 million increase over the FY15 enacted level of $589.9 million. The omnibus also outlines funding levels for specific programs, including:

  • Fulbright, $236 million (-$485,000);
  • IVLP, $89.665 million (flat funding);
  • Citizen exchanges, $102 million (+$2 million);
  • Young Leaders Initiatives, $19 million (-$1.0 million under the combined allocations for the YALI $15 and YSEALI $5 programs in FY15; the FY16 allocation also includes the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative).

The omnibus further stipulates that the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program receive at least $4 million in FY16. This language is consistent with House and Senate bills earlier this year, in response to a proposed 50 per cent funding cut to the program by the State Department earlier this year (the Alliance reported). The bill additionally contains language reinstating seafood processing placements for the J-1 Summer Work Travel program (page 1146-47 full bill text).

A chart outlining State Department exchange program funding levels provided by the omnibus can be found in the bill report language here (pages 8-9).

Congress is expected to pass the omnibus this week, according to CQ, “but extending the funding [with a CR] into next week gives lawmakers ample breathing room if progress is delayed.”

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