The White House released a budget blueprint on March 16th that proposes slashing the budgets of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) by approximately one third. This represents an extremely steep cut, especially in light of the fact that these agencies’ budgets make up only one percent of total U.S. government spending, and it comes at a time when conflicts and extreme food insecurity continue to pose profound challenges and affect millions of people around the world.
The President’s budget proposal would fund State and USAID at $25.6 billion, with an additional $12 million in supplemental funding through the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. Such deep cuts would have a devastating impact on the work of humanitarian and development programs funded by State and USAID.
It’s worth noting that the President’s budget is a non-binding document and its release is only the first step in the U.S. budgetary process. Now, Congress—which has the authority to fund the government and all of its programs, including foreign assistance—must come up with its own version of the budget over the next few months. Funding for hunger, nutrition and clean water has historically received bipartisan Congressional support, and we are hopeful that Congress will continue to prioritize these programs in their budget.
While the President’s budget contains few details about funding levels for specific accounts (though it does propose to eliminate some programs, like the McGovern-Dole international school feeding program, entirely), it includes some language clarifying the administration’s priorities in international affairs spending. Some key points about priorities of Action Against Hunger:
- The budget specifically mentions “deep cuts to foreign aid” and says that “steps to reduce foreign assistance free up funding for critical priorities here at home and put America first.”
- The budget would “reduce or end direct funding for international organizations