US Debt Deal Addresses Foreign Aid Funding

U.S. lawmakers will brief their colleagues Monday morning on a compromise to raise the country’s borrowing limit in exchange for steep spending cuts that are expected to include foreign aid.

Few details of the tentative agreement were immediately known after lawmakers left tense negotiating sessions Sunday at the White House. But, according to the New York Times, it “calls for at least $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, a new Congressional committee to recommend a deficit-reduction proposal by Thanksgiving, and a two-step increase in the debt ceiling.”

Almost half of these cuts would go into effect immediately, while the rest would have to be determined by a bipartisan committee of lawmakers later this year, according to news reports. Given Republicans’ recent rhetoric and legislative efforts to cut spending for the U.S. Agency for International Development, it is likely that the agency - and other aid programs - will face cuts.

If the bipartisan commitee did not find savings later this year, across-the-board cuts to government programs would be triggered, according to news reports. Interestingly, Republicans appear to have successfully lobbied for a broad definition of “defense”: It now includes foreign affairs and aid, according to Politico, making it more likely that those programs - not Pentagon spending - would be cut in the event the bipartisan committee did not come up with enough savings.

About the author

  • Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.