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For Millennium Challenge Account watchers already dismayed by early rumors that the Senate Appropriations Committee was going to approve funding for the program at $1.4 billion -- below the $1.8 billion mark that came out of the House, late yesterday's news of a $1.2 billion mark was startling. Says the Committee press release:

"The Committee provides $1.2 billion for the MCC, which is $1.8 billion below the President’s request and
$352.3 million below the FY 07 enacted level. The program is below the
President’s request because there are currently $2.1 billion in unobligated funds.
The amount in the bill is adequate to fund the four proposed new compacts in FY
08."

The originally proposed $1.4 billion budget for the MCA got the additional $200 million haircut from Republican Judd Gregg who apparently felt that helping Jordan with mlitary and economic aid was a better use of the money. Raises the question of whether Jordan and other middle-income countries shoudl be removed from the eligibility list for MCA funding so that the poorer countries can have what is now likely to be a smaller appropriation.
Now the House and Senate will fight out the numbers, $1.8 billion and $1.2 billion respectively, in conference. There still remains much confusion over how much funding the MCA really has unobligated. GAO's recent report is ruling most of the decisions on this score. Here's my earlier (and back of the envelope) comment on the matter. Keep a look out on our site for new analysis.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.