US Aid Cuts for FY2012 Approved by Senate Panel

Pallets of humanitarian aid from the U.S. Agency for International Development. U.S. Senate appropriators have passed a fiscal 2012 state and foreign operations spending bill, which provide USAID with $1.25 billion operating expenses. Photo by: U.S. Department of Agriculture / CC BY

U.S. Senate appropriators have passed a fiscal 2012 state and foreign operations spending bill that provides $44.64 billion in discretionary funding to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and other international programs.

The approved funding level is $6 billion lower than the $50.70 billion requested by U.S. President Barack Obama and approximately $1 billion less than the enacted budget for fiscal 2011.

The Senate allocation, however, is $5 billion higher than the state and foreign affairs budget approved earlier this year by House appropriators. Members of the U.S. development committee have expressed support for the Senate version of the 2012 budget and said they hope Congress would adopt it over the House version.

The Senate and House bills need to be reconciled before a final bill is voted on and sent to the president for signature.

Operating expenses

The Senate bill provides $1.25 billion for USAID operating expenses — $96.3 million less than fiscal 2011 levels — and $13.8 billion for the Department of State. The State budget includes $1.58 billion to fund U.S. contributions to international organizations and $1.9 billion for U.S. payments to support international peacekeeping activities.

Bilateral and multilateral aid

The bill allocates $19.58 billion for U.S. bilateral economic assistance, including:

  • $7.9 billion for U.S. global health programs.

  • $2.55 billion for official development assistance.

  • $850 million for international disaster assistance.

  • $4.37 billion for the Economic Support Fund.

  • $898.2 million for the Millennium Challenge Corp.

For U.S. contributions to development banks and other multilateral organizations, the Senate bill allocates $3.2 billion, which is $918.5 below fiscal 2011 levels and $446.5 below Obama’s fiscal 2012 request.

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.