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Case Secures Foreign Affairs Funding To Expand and Strengthen Hawai‘i and U.S. Leadership In Indo-Pacific Region

Ninth of twelve FY23 appropriations bills also includes billions to support the United Nations, assist nations in need and combat climate change

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) has announced approval by his U.S. House Committee on Appropriations of another key measure for Hawai‘i that is among the twelve bills to collectively fund the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 (commencing October 1, 2022).

The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations measure funds U.S. foreign policy programs and agencies, including the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. contributions to the United Nations and its agencies and more.

Globally, this bill provides for U.S. foreign assistance in public health, basic education, educational and cultural exchanges, climate change and more. The discretionary funding level is $66 billion, an increase of $8.5 billion over the FY 2022 enacted level. 

This year’s bill as passed today by the Appropriations Committee will implement provisions from Case’s BLUE Pacific Act, which increases overall U.S. engagement throughout the Pacific Islands. The bill also will fund key institutions and programs in Hawai‘i, such as the East West Center and scholarships for Pacific Islanders, while supporting international efforts to combat climate change.

The bill includes $21 million for the East West Center, an increase of $1.3 million over the FY 2022 enacted level. This further increase, after years at a lower level and facing an annual zero budget request throughout the Trump Administration, places the Center on a solid and sustainable foundation from which to build further.

“This bill bolsters our commitments to diplomacy, development and democracy in the Indo-Pacific, and the $21 million for the East-West Center will help cement Hawaii’s role in that effort,” said Case. 

“My BLUE Pacific Act, together with the Committee’s approval of my request to continue funding the East-West Center, sends a powerful message to our critical Pacific Islands partners and allies that our country values our relationships and intends to invest further in them and to continue as an active and engaged partner in pursuit of our shared interests and in defense of our shared values.”

Programs and provisions secured by Case related to the Indo-Pacific and his BLUE Pacific Act include:

  • $1.7 billion for implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy to counter malign influence and promote peace, prosperity and democracy in the region, an increase of almost $100 million.
  • Bill language requiring at least $40 million for the Pacific Islands region, almost double previous spending.
  • Increased funding for the Young Pacific Leaders Program, a Department of State program for emerging young leaders from Hawai‘i, Guam, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands and other Pacific nations.
  • Report language encouraging the Department of State to increase the number of scholarships available for Pacific Islanders to study in the United States, many of whom study at the University of Hawai‘i.
  • $430.5 million for the Peace Corps, an increase of $20 million over the FY 2022 enacted level, along with language encouraging the Peace Corps to prioritize the Pacific Islands in the return of volunteers.
  • Report language recommending no less than $20 million for climate resilient development and climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in the Pacific Islands.
  • Language in support of expanding the U.S. diplomatic presence in the Pacific Islands and expanding the programming of the U.S. Agency for Global Media in the region.
  • Report language requiring the Department of State to create a strategy on trade capacity building in the Pacific Islands.
  • Report language recommending the expansion of the International Law Enforcement Academy to the Pacific Islands, and supporting the Pacific Islands in their efforts to combat transnational crime. 

“As Hawai`i and the rest of our planet confront the impacts of climate change, we must act immediately to respond to this global crisis, and small islands in the Pacific are particularly vulnerable as they confront rising sea levels, extreme weather events, protracted droughts and land loss, to name just a few of the impacts brought on by this crisis,” said Case.

The bill includes $3.6 billion to address the climate change, including:

  • $1.6 billion for bilateral climate assistance.
  • $1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund, $1.6 billion above the FY 2022 enacted level.
  • $350 million for Clean Technology Fund, $225 million above the FY 2022 enacted level.
  • $100 million for the Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund
The bill also sustains or increases funding for several foreign policy programs supported by Case including:
  • $1.7 billion for contributions to international organizations and $1.8 billion to support United Nations international peacekeeping activities, which includes U.S. dues and arrears.
  • $773 million for Educational and Cultural Exchange programs, which include the Fulbright programs.
  • $6.7  billion to fight HIV/AIDS, including $2 billion for the Global Fund.
  • $890 million for maternal and child health programs.
  • $985 million for basic education.
  • $2.9 billion for migration and refugee assistance and $3.9 billion for international disaster assistance.

The bill now moves on to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

A summary of the FY23 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations funding bill is here.