The U.S. Congress has approved
in foreign aid spending for fiscal year 2010. The legislation now awaits President Barack Obama's signature.
The amount represents a decrease of $1.235 billion or 2 percent from the sum for fiscal year 2009. This reflects decreases in aid to Afghanistan and Iraq, and funding for peacekeeping activities.
Meanwhile, U.S. aid agencies and development programs are due to enjoy budget increases.
The State Department will have USD8.227 billion for diplomatic operations. The sum will allow the department to recruit more than 700 new foreign service personnel.
The U.S. Agency for International Development will receive USD1.39 billion, exceeding the 2009 level by USD330 million. Congress said this will allow the agency to hire another 300 foreign service officers for the Development Leadership Initiative. The program aims to improve USAID's leadership, technical and managerial capacity.
The Millennium Challenge Corp. will get USD1.105 billion or USD230 million more than in 2009. MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes welcomed the development.
"MCC is expanding opportunities for the world's poor," Yohannes said in a statement. "With the strong support and dedication to reduce poverty from members of Congress, together we will build on our progress."
The Peace Corps will gain USD400 million or USD60 million above the 2009 volume. According to Congress, the sum will be used to speed up the Obama administration's commitment to expand the program.
The bill also indicates a rise in the budget for global health programs focusing on AIDS and child survival, with USD7.779 billion, as well as for agriculture, environment, microfinance, democracy and governance, education, energy and water initiatives.
Humanitarian assistance will also go up. Funding to aid refugees will climb to USD1.730 billion, while direct assistance will rise to USD845 million.