A key Congressional committee has acted to reinstate funding for a number of programs that support Tibetan communities in Tibet and Tibetan refugees in South Asia in the 2018 Fiscal Year State Department budget.
On July 19, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
In the President’s proposed budget for FY2018, the Tibetan programs were generally reduced and in one case, eliminated.
The House bill recommended funding at the same level as for the year 2017, in particular:
- to support activities that preserve cultural traditions and promote sustainable development and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in Tibet;
- to continue to support Tibetan communities in India and Nepal in the areas of education, skills development, and entrepreneurship; and
- to continue allocation of funds to assist Tibetan refugees in Nepal and India at a level commensurate with prior years.
The House bill further:
- recommended funds to continue support of Tibetan exchanges and fellowships (includes Tibetan Scholarship Programs and fellowship for Tibetans from Tibet);
- recommends funding for running the Office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues within the State Department;
- supports democracy and human rights programs for Tibet through the National Endowment for Democracy; and
- funds for Tibetan language services for VOA and RFA.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve its version in the next weeks. Under normal procedures, the House and Senate would consider the bills, and reconciled into a final bill before the end of September 2017.