Congress Approves USAID WASH Funding for Remaining 6 Months of FY 24′, 5% Below FY 23′

Down to the Wire Again, Congress Passes Final FY 24 Appropriations Bills with 5.6% Cut for State and Foreign Operations; Bill Includes $451 Million for WASH, Only the Second Time in 15 Years a Topline Reduction was Legislated for USAID Water for Poor Programs

Washington, DC, March 25, 2024 – Late last Friday Congress scrambled to pass a compromise FY 24 spending package, agreeing on a $3.4 billion overall cut for State, USAID and related agencies from the level approved in FY 23. The final bill included $55.8 billion in non-emergency funding and $2.5 billion in emergency program funding. President Biden signed it into law hours later.

Water sanitation, and hygiene sustained about the same level of reduction as most programs, going from $475 million in FY 23 to $451 million in FY 24. Considering the very possible (worse) scenarios before this week, that is “good” – while losing the $24 million from the program levels of last year, a 5% reduction is a relief for advocates.

Since before 2010, Congress has each year increased or kept level WASH funding, with one exception when a small across-the-board cut for all programs was enacted for one year.

The bill also requires that not less than $225,500,000 of the WASH funds be allocated among high-priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where need is generally greatest. MWA supports this provision.

Congress has already begun work on FY 25, and earlier this month the Biden Administration released its proposed FY 25 budget, including $62.4 billion for State and Foreign Operations – about 7% more than Congress has just approved for FY 24.

Here is the text from the bill appropriating WASH funds in FY 24:

Water And Sanitation.—Of the funds appropriated by this Act, not less than $451,000,000 shall be made available for water supply and sanitation projects pursuant to section 136 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, of which not less than $225,500,000 shall be for programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

MWA thanks the House and Senate appropriators for again affirming that WASH is important and must remain a significant part of US foreign assistance. The reductions will have a real world impact, but as commonly said, it could have been much worse. In large part because of unprecedented international crises of recent years, Congress is facing even more fiscal constraints.

We especially thank these leading appropriators for their support: Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Appropriations Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), Senate State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chair Chris Coons (D-DE), Senate State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Lindsay Graham (R-SC), House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-TX), House Appropriations Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), House State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chair Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and House State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Ranking Member Barbara Lee (D-CA).

We also thank the members of the Congressional Global Water Security Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), for their ongoing support of WASH appropriations.

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