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USAID looks ahead to uncertain operating budget

By Michael Igoe10 February 2014

U.S. Agency for International Development Rajiv Shah. The aid agency will experience operating budget cuts for the 2014 fiscal year. Photo by: S.K. Vemmer / U.S. State Department

The U.S. Agency for International Development will “exhaust” this year any carryover funding it has to help offset operating expenses budget cuts included in the fiscal year 2014 omnibus bill, according to an agency official.

That means things could get rocky in 2015 — if funding for Afghanistan continues to scale back and Congress decides the current operating budget is USAID’s new normal.

USAID’s operating expenses budget took a hit this year, and agency planners are still trying to figure out what it means for the agency’s ability to pay salaries, hire new staff and fund the administrative costs of managing programs at headquarters and country missions beyond fiscal year 2014.

The current operating expenses appropriation includes both “enduring” funds for the agency’s ongoing programs as well as “Overseas Contingency Operations” funds — the Obama administration’s term for stabilization and reconstruction programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, formerly known as the “global war on terrorism.”

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Michael IgoeFollow@AlterIgoe

Michael Igoe is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers U.S. foreign aid and emerging trends in international development and humanitarian policy. Michael draws on his experience as both a journalist and international development practitioner in Central Asia to develop stories from an insider's perspective.

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