President’s FY 2017 Budget - National Security and International Affairs Proposals

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Budget Committee today released its third in a series of analyses of the President’s FY 2017 Budget submission. The February 16, 2016, Budget Bulletin is focused on the Budget’s National Security and International Affairs proposals. The Budget Bulletin provides regular expert articles by Senate Budget Committee analysts on the issues before Congress relating to the budget, deficits, debt, and the economy.

Read the full Senate Budget Bulletin here.

Excerpts follow:

National Defense

The president’s budget requests $551.1 billion in regular discretionary budget authority for national defense in 2017, a $3 billion (0.5 percent) increase from 2016 levels. Spending for national defense supports the military activities of the Department of Defense (DOD), the nuclear-weapons related activities of the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and defense-related activities in other departments of the federal government. As in years past, spending for DOD, $523.9 billion for 2017, makes up approximately 95 percent of discretionary spending on national defense.

Spending for national defense is controlled through the defense category (revised security) of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The president’s request of $551.1 billion is equal to the amount allowed under the BCA’s caps this year, as modified by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. From 2018 to 2021, the remaining years of the BCA period, the president’s requested defense levels are $113 billion higher than the limits currently allowed under the law.

The president’s budget request of $523.9 billion for base DOD spending is $2.2 billion (0.4 percent) higher than the amount enacted for 2016.

International Affairs

The president’s budget requests $39.3 billion in regular nondefense discretionary spending for international affairs programs. A large portion of the funding, which supports the budgets of the Department of State and USAID, will be used to strengthen global partners, combat violent extremism, and support security measures for U.S. embassies and consulates. The 2017 proposed base funding levels within the foreign affairs accounts are an overall decrease of $443 million from 2016 levels. This decrease is occurring even in the wake of the enactment of the BBA15, which increased nondefense discretionary by $15 billion for 2017. This could be explained by the substantial increase in nondefense discretionary overseas contingency operations (discussed further below). To that point, although the Embassy Security and Construction and Bilateral Economic Assistance regular amounts decreased from last year’s estimates, their respective OCO requests increased by a combined $1 billion.

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