The Congressional Budget Office estimates a proposed Senate bill that would make some changes to the State Department‘s operations could trigger a $6.5 billion increase in direct spending from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal 2021.
CBO said Wednesday the Department of State Authorization Act (S. 2937) would allow the department to retain its passport and visa applications processing service fees as well as use the surcharges it collects to facilitate consular activities up to two years without further appropriation action.
The department spent more than $3.4 billion in consular fees collected during fiscal 2015 on consular, border security and information technology programs and remitted about $0.8 billion to the Treasury, according to CBO.
The bill also contains provisions that seek to expand the purposes for which the state can spend registration fees for defense-related items from manufacturers and exporters as well as extend the Fishermen’s Protection Fund through 2018.
CBO added the implementation of the bill would reduce the State Department’s net discretionary costs by nearly $50 million during the next five fiscal years.
The agency also estimates the bill would increase net direct spending and on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion over four consecutive 10-year periods from fiscal 2027.