US elections: What’s at stake for foreign aid?

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Photo by: Stijn Vogels / CC BY-NC-SA

Foreign policy and development were largely glossed over by both U.S. presidential candidates on the campaign trail leading to Election Day on Nov. 6. But while clear plans were lacking, there were definite clues on the differences and similarities of the candidates’ plans for foreign aid.

Mitt Romney notably outlined at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in September a proposal to introduce “prosperity pacts” with U.S. aid recipient countries. Romney and U.S. President Barack Obama also traded views on aid to Pakistan and the Middle East in their last debate in Florida.

The most detailed foreign aid plans by both candidates, however, come in the way of their party platforms. Democrats and Republicans, as Devex has reported, agree on the moral and strategic imperatives of foreign assistance but differ starkly on how to deliver aid, and how much.

But aside from the results of the presidential election, the future of the U.S. foreign aid program depends on the outcome of the congressional election. The U.S. Congress, after all, is in charge of appropriating aid funds and approving related legislation.

The Republican Partycurrently holds the House of Representatives while Democrats have more seats in the Senate. This is not likely to change, The Associated Press reports, as Republicans are expected to maintain a hold on their 435 seats in the House. While Democrats are projected to gain a few more seats in the Senate, they are not expected to fill the 25 seats needed for the majority.

Need a refresher on where Obama and Romney — or Democrats and Republicans, in general — stand on foreign aid? Here’s some background reading from Devex:

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About the author

  • 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.