Tuesday, January 14, 2014

follow the money

Congress is likely to vote on and pass the fiscal year 2014 omnibus appropriations bill later this week. It really is an omnibus, containing all 13 spending bills in a single 1,582-page package. The text is here, but be warned, it's a huge file.

I wanted to draw attention to the contrast between the 164 pages for the defense section, compared to 274 pages for the State Department and foreign assistance. The lawmakers really did weigh in on provisions for dozens of countries and categories of aid.  A 3-page summary is here, but you might be intrigued to scroll through the actual text to see the range of congressional actions. The State/Foreign Ops section K is in bill pages 1132-1406; the defense section C is on pages 200-364.

A point to remember: since the foreign policy authorizing committees have been unable to enact a broad foreign aid authorization bill since 1986, the appropriators have the full power and incentives to include all the micromanaging details in their bill -- while the Pentagon gets authorities and guidance from both the authorizing Armed Services Committees and appropriations.

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