Analysis: FY14 Budget Request
USGLC Applauds the President’s FY14 International Affairs Budget for Balancing America’s Strategic Interests At a Time of Fiscal Constraints
TOTAL FY14 INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS BUDGET REQUEST FLAT AFTER YEARS OF CUTS
The Administration’s $52 billion International Affairs Budget request is nearly identical to amounts enacted for FY13 (post-sequestration) and a 4% cut from FY12. While the overall funding level remains roughly the same, the spending blueprint includes several areas of significant re-prioritization and rebalancing that reflect shifting U.S. foreign policy interests and emerging geopolitical demands in a constrained fiscal environment.
Key highlights in the President’s request include:
- Additional resources to protect our diplomats and facilities abroad;
- New tools to respond to democratic transitions and the Arab Spring;
- Increased assistance to Asia as the U.S. expands its presence in the region;
- Changes in how the United States delivers food assistance;
- Enhanced operational reforms at USAID;
- Continuation of Presidential Initiatives for food security and global health;
- Strengthened capacity for U.S. export and international investment agencies to advance America’s economic interests; and
- Greater prioritization on the empowerment of women and girls.
At the same time, the FY14 budget reflects greater selectivity in a constrained budget environment by offering plans for cutting back in selected areas:
- Significantly down-sizing resources for the Frontline states of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq
- Scaling back on USAID’s presence in eleven countries;
- Reducing the number of focus nations under Feed the Future and Global Health;
- Continuing the downward trend in assistance to Eurasia and Central Asia; and
- Turning over greater responsibility to partner governments for counter-narcotics efforts in Colombia and HIV/AIDS programs in South Africa.
Similar to the past two years, the International Affairs Budget is divided into two components – base programs and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), out of which temporary and extraordinary resources for the Frontline States of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq are provided. Of the $52 billion total International Affairs Budget request, $48.2 billion is base funding and $3.8 billion supports OCO programs. While this request seeks to re-balance the deep and disproportionate cuts that have been made to non-war related programs since FY10, the FY14 proposal would still be well below the levels spent as recently as 2010. These cuts have occurred despite a growing number of crises, including heightened turbulence in the Middle East and North Africa and increasing threats to our diplomats and development experts.
In addition to significantly reducing total funding for OCO in FY14, the request makes an additional important change by limiting OCO exclusively to activities in the Frontline States. In the last two years, Congress expanded the scope of OCO by providing funds for other global contingencies beyond the Frontline States. For FY14, the Administration proposes to move non-Frontline States OCO funding back to base International Affairs Budget accounts. This is consistent with last year’s Senate efforts to address the concern that, as OCO declines and perhaps even disappears in a few years, transfering non-Frontline States resources back into the base will be more difficult given tight overall caps that are in place for the next decade.
PRESIDENT’S BUDGET REQUEST IMPROVES ON SENATE AND HOUSE PLANS
An unusual circumstance around the President’s budget this year is that it comes after both the House and Senate have adopted their own budget outlines for FY14. Normally, the Administration would have sent Congress its plan in early February, with Congressional action not occurring until March or April. Last month, both chambers passed FY14 Budget Resolutions — with the House making significant cuts to the International Affairs Budget, setting base spending at only $38.7 billion. This would represent a 5.6% cut from current sequestered levels and total a 25% cut over the past four years. In contrast, the Senate approved a budget resolution that provided $45.6 billion in base appropriations.
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition applauds the Obama Administration for its $52 billion International Affairs Budget request (which includes $3.8 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations), and urges Congress to support this balanced approach to protecting our security and global economic interests through our tools of development and diplomacy.
The President’s request is flat compared to this year’s total enacted International Affairs Budget, though still represents a cut over the past four years despite the growing number of crises America faces around the world. The request makes some tough choices, prioritizing protection of our diplomats and embassies, areas of strategic importance like the Middle East, reforms to make our civilian operations more effective, and greater leveraging of the partnerships with the private sector. At the same time, it significantly reduces resources for the Frontline states of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq and scales back on USAID’s presence in eleven countries.
Read the USGLC press release and other statements of support.
INCLUDED IN THE ANALYSIS
- Highlights of Increases and Decreases
- Notable Program Funding and Policy Issues
- Notable Country and Regional Issues
- Comprehensive List of Increases and Decreases
- Account-by-Account Detail of the FY14 Request
- What’s Ahead
- Additional Information and Resources