In the last budget request of his presidency, President Obama requested $628.9 million for core Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs.

This request represents an approximately 6.4% increase over the FY16 funding level of $590.9 million—a robust number in difficult budget times (nearly $6 million higher than last year’s request of $623 million), and a concrete sign of the Obama administration’s support of exchanges.

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The House and Senate passed an omnibus appropriations bill on Friday, finalizing funding for the remainder of FY16, CQ reports. The funding measure was signed by President Obama later that day.

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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.

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Hours before the expiration of a continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government through midnight tonight (December 11), Congress passed a short-term CR to keep the federal government funded for an additional five days through December 16, CQ reports. President Obama is expected to sign the funding measure, avoiding a government shutdown. The new CR will give lawmakers additional time to finish negotiations on an omnibus bill to fund the government for the remainder of FY16.

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A continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress and signed by President Obama on Wednesday will keep the federal government funded at current levels through December 11, reports CQ.

The U.S. government should double the number of participants in the Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, according to a The Hill blog post by former U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait Richard LeBaron.

The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) officially released yesterday its “2015 Comprehensive Annual Report on Public Diplomacy & International Broadcasting.” The report itemizes Department of State and Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) public diplomacy and international broadcasting activities, including Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) exchange programs.

Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) is set to enroll its first class of students “from around Asia and beyond” in fall 2016, according to PIE News. The University, which received partial funding for its establishment from the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), will be the first independent, non-profit, U.S.-affiliated university in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA) spoke in support of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program yesterday on the House floor, noting that the program “has shown tremendous success in fostering a stronger relationship between the United States and Germany.”

In his remarks, Rep. Thompson outlined several of the long-term benefits of the program for both German and American CBYX participants:

The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY16 State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) spending bill yesterday, providing $49.0 billion in overall funding and allocating $590.9 million for Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs.

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