An amendment adopted by the House of Representatives yesterday allows the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to provide grants to Hispanic-serving higher education institutions to offer advanced foreign language programs that would be of “immediate” interest to the intelligence community, as well as for study abroad and cultural immersion programs.
The House State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) Appropriations Subcommittee today approved by voice vote its FY16 funding bill, including Department of State exchange programs.
Educational and cultural exchange programs are provided $582.531 million in FY16 – about $40.55 million less than the President’s request of $623.079 million, and $7.37 million less than the FY15 enacted level of $589.9 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday approved its spending allocations for the twelve FY16 appropriations bills, allocating $49.0 billion for State-Foreign Operations, which funds the Department of State and State Department exchanges. This spending allocation maintains total funding nearly at the current funding level for international affairs, the United States Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) explains.
The House and Senate passed a budget resolution conference agreement last week that recommends $47.1 billion for international affairs in FY16. This is the first time in several years that both chambers of Congress agreed to a budget resolution guiding the appropriations bills for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Japanese government will invest $15 million to support Japanese studies at nine U.S. universities, reports University World News, noting that the funding decision was reaffirmed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent week-long official visit to the U.S.
For the third time in recent years, the Alliance partnered with Representative Hank Johnson’s office to send a sign-on letter to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter this year is bipartisan and signed by 105 members of Congress, requesting the highest funding level possible for State Department exchanges in FY 2016. This represents a strong commitment to international exchange programs and continues to build on the Alliance’s advocacy efforts.
Five former U.S. ambassadors to Germany believe that the decision to cut funding for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange program (CBYX) by 50 per cent “runs contrary to U.S. interests”:
“At a time when our two countries need to work together more closely on numerous transatlantic and global issues, slashing this successful program is the wrong decision for German-American relations.”
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:
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.