How US foreign aid would fare under the 2015 omnibus spending bill

How will U.S. foreign aid spending look like for 2015? Photo by: 401kcalculator / CC BY-SA

Next year’s U.S. spending bill narrowly cleared the House of Representatives on Thursday night and will now head to the Senate, where it needs a unanimous vote to pass. Here’s a look at how foreign aid and development accounts would fare in fiscal year 2015 under the omnibus budget:

Overseas coal production. The bill removes U.S. President Barack Obama’s restrictions on financing coal projects overseas. This frees up the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. to move forward on coal projects, which Obama curtailed in 2013 because of the damage coal production inflicts on the environment. Before the restriction, Ex-Im Bank had loaned more than $2 billion for coal projects since 2007, and provided $5.2 billion to support coal-mining overseas.

Humanitarian aid. The bill includes nearly $100 million more than the current budget for State Department refugee programs and the U.S. Agency for International Development emergency relief account, for a total of $4.95 billion, well above the White House’s request. It’s important to note, however, that $5.4 billion is allocated for emergency Ebola response split between USAID and the State Department; the Department of Health and Human Services; and the Department of Defense. This puts the base level for humanitarian aid about 6 percent below current funding, and 16 percent below 2010 levels.

●  USAID operations. USAID administrative resources would increase by $76 million, or 6.7 percent, with encouragement to further advance the Global Development Lab. The bill praises the initiative and encourages the pursuit of innovative solutions to global development challenges.

Diplomatic efforts. For State Department operations, the agreement includes $7.8 billion, almost $400 million below current levels.

Contributions to international organizations. Current levels will see a $74 million bump, but only for international organizations operating in Afghanistan and Iraq, namely the United Nations and other multilateral institutions. This brings the total for contributions to international organizations to to $1.47 billion. Like last year, UNESCO was left out.

Global health. In addition to the $5.4 billion in emergency funds to fight Ebola, the agreement includes $8.45 billion for HIV and AIDS, malaria, TB, maternal and child health, nutrition and other global health activities, which is close to current spending. Funding for bilateral HIV programs increased by $300 million, while funding for the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria decreased by the same amount ($300 million).

Economic Support Fund. For strategic-oriented economic assistance, the agreement includes $4.75 billion, adding $400 million for the Middle East.

International Clean Technology and Strategic Climate Funds. The spending bill allots $185 million and $50 million, respectively for each fund, which is comparable to current levels.

International Monetary Fund. This is the third year that no funds were allotted to support IMF quota reform, which would require additional resources from the U.S. government. The senate sought to support with $315 million in its version of the bill, the negotiated bill offers nothing.

Stay tuned to Devex for more news and analysis of U.S. aid, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive the latest from the world’s leading donors and decision makers — emailed to you FREE every business day.

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About the author

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    Molly Anders

    Molly Anders is a U.K. Correspondent for Devex. Based in London, she reports on development finance trends with a focus on British and European institutions. She is especially interested in evidence-based development and women’s economic empowerment, as well as innovative financing for the protection of migrants and refugees. Molly is a former Fulbright Scholar and studied Arabic in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.