This annual bill appropriates funding for the State Dept., foreign operations, and related programs in FY 2016. Relevant to the Palestinians and the broader Palestinian-Israeli conflict are its provisions on military and economic support to Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt, establishing or maintaining restrictions on aid to the Palestinians, overseeing policy on Iran, and providing nonlethal assistance to Syrian civilians. Ultimately, State and foreign operations funding for FY 2016 was passed into law in an omnibus appropriations bill, *H.R. 2029 of 4/24/15, on 12/18/15. See that bill for details.
The Congressional Monitor provides summaries reflecting only those relevant provisions that are altered between early drafts and the bills that eventually pass into law for appropriations bills that do not pass. In this case, relevant provisions dealing with Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians were unchanged between this draft, which was introduced in the House on 6/11, and the final bill. The summary below, therefore, reflects the House Appropriations Comm.’s priorities.
Military and Economic Support for Egypt
The process for disbursing foreign military financing (FMF) to Egypt was altered between the House Appropriations Comm.’s draft and the final bill. Both versions appropriated $1.3 b. in FMF and $150 m. in economic support funds; the draft version would have required the administration to report to Congress every 90 days on Egypt’s progress on democracy-related reforms without, however, making disbursals conditional upon them—effectively the same conditionality as was current during Pres. Hosni Mubarak’s tenure prior to 2011. Also unlike the provisions of the final bill, the draft did not require $150,000 in ESF to be withheld to pay for the legal bills of U.S. NGO workers who had been found guilty of meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs through democracy-promotion efforts.
Oversight and Policy on Iran
Because this bill was introduced before the historic nuclear deal on 7/14/15, its provisions on Iran were much different than those that eventually passed into law. This early draft would have required the secretary of state to report to Congress on both the then ongoing Iran–P5+1 negotiations and on the status of U.S., as well as multilateral, sanctions against Iran. In addition, no funds would be authorized to compensate the 53 U.S. citizens taken hostage in Iran in 1979. The provision on Internet freedom was carried over and passed into law.
Military Support for Jordan
The final bill appropriated no less than $1.275 b. in ESF and FMF to Jordan, while this early draft authorized no less than $1 b. The House comm. did not specify appropriations for the Red Sea–Dead Sea water project, but their authorization of loan guarantees carried over from previous appropriations legislation.
Funding and Restrictions on Relevant Government Entities and International Groups
Only 2 provisions, restrictions, and appropriations related to these entities and groups were altered between drafts of the measure.
International Peacekeeping Activities: The committee recommended a $2.12 b. appropriation for these programs, which fund UN peacekeeping activities around the world, including the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the UN Disengagement Observer Force on the Syria-Israel border (UNDOF). The final bill made $1.794 b. available for these activities.
Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG): The committee’s draft would have appropriated slightly more to the BBG, which supports radio, television, and Internet programs internationally: $737.991 m., compared to $734.087 m.