Foreign Affairs Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Funding: Background and Current Status [Updated August 13, 2021] [open pdf - 644KB]
From the Document: "For the past decade, Members of Congress have debated Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding levels in the context of annual foreign affairs and defense budgets. First used by the foreign affairs agencies in FY2012, a key feature of OCO funds was their effective exemption, like emergency funds, from the discretionary spending limits established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25). Some Members viewed OCO funding as a tool for preventing contingency needs from encroaching on funding for core agency activities. Others criticized the OCO designation, labeling it as a 'slush fund' that provided funds for programs unrelated to contingency operations. The BCA's spending caps ended in FY2021. Under the Trump Administration, the foreign affairs agencies ceased requesting OCO funds after FY2018. However, Congress appropriated $8.0 billion designated as OCO every year between FY2019 and FY2021 in State-Foreign Operations (SFOPS) appropriations bills. FY2022 may be a turning point, as the House recently approved an FY2022 SFOPS appropriations measure (H.R. 4373) that did not include OCO funding."
CRS In Focus, IF10143
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/