Huge US cuts to US State Dept and foreign aid budgets on the way

Details from Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy:

The House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee, led by Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), unveiled its fiscal 2012 appropriations bill today in advance of tomorrow’s markup. The bill would provide State and USAID with $39.6 billion in discretionary funding next year, which is 18 percent, or $8.6 billion, below the fiscal 2011 level. The fiscal 2011 level, which was reached as part of a deal to avoid a government shutdown in April, was already $8 billion less than originally requested by the Obama administration […]

The State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill usually enjoys wide bipartisan support, but this year will be an exception. House Democratic aides said that the bill was crafted in a way to satisfy GOP political priorities and without much consideration for comity or consensus across the aisle.

“The decision was apparently made that this would be a Republican bill,” one House Democratic aide said.

For employees at State and USAID, the cuts could be particularly biting. The bill cuts the $1.35 billion USAID operations budget to around $900 million and would eliminate what’s known as “localization pay” for diplomats abroad, which would immediately bring down their salaries.