Funding

Despite being a “textbook example” of soft power and “the best money we spend overseas,” the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) has experienced consistent funding cuts over the past several years, Foreign Policy reports:

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Funding cuts to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), a bilateral exchange program supported jointly by the U.S. and Germany, are facing bipartisan criticism from members of Congress, as well as from the German government. In addition to opposition from CBYX program alumni, the cuts have “spawned an unusual coalition in Washington that is working hard to reverse the partial defunding of the program,” Deutsche Welle reports.

Secretary of State John Kerry, throughout the past two days, testified before several congressional committees with regard to the President’s FY16 State Department budget request.

In a podcast (in German) on the German government website, Chancellor Angela Merkel discusses current transatlantic issues, including her concern over funding cuts to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program. Katherine Lindemann, a political science student from Maine who is currently studying at Humboldt University in Berlin, conducted the interview.

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The President’s FY16 budget, released earlier today (see pages 31-33), requests $623.079 million for Department of State international exchange programs, a 5.6 per cent increase over current levels—a robust number in difficult budget times, and a concrete sign of the Obama administration’s support of exchanges.

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Alumni of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program have launched a “Save CBYX” campaign, in response to the decision to cut funding for the program by 50% for the 2015-2016 program year, the Atlantic Review reports. Through the campaign, alumni are “asking all supporters to sign an online petition appealing to the State Department to reverse its decision.”

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Potential funding cuts to exchange programs are threatening transatlantic relations, according to a recent The Hill blog post by Chris Kojm and Christina Tsafoulias, both former Robert Bosch Foundation Fellows to Germany.

President Obama last night signed into law the FY15 “cromnibus” funding bill (H.R. 83), passed by Congress last week, according to a White House press release.

The Senate on Saturday night cleared the $1.1 trillion FY15 “cromnibus” spending bill that would keep the federal government funded through September 2015. According to CQ.com, the measure passed the Senate 56-40 and “President Obama has indicated he will sign the bill.”

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Hours before the expiration of the FY15 Continuing Resolution (CR), and with a narrow vote of 219 to 206, the House of Representatives last night passed the $1.1 trillion FY15 omnibus spending bill that would keep the federal government funded through September 2015.

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