FY13 International Affairs Budget Request Released

February 14, 2012 By Mac Stoddard

Yesterday the President released his $56.2 billion FY13 International Affairs Budget request, which includes $8.2 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.  USGLC issued a press release and a detailed analysis of the request, commending it as strong, strategic, and critical to our national security needs.  This morning, OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients will testify before the Senate Budget Committee on the President’s overall FY13 budget request, while Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey will testify on the FY13 defense budget before the Senate Armed Services Committee.   Secretary Clinton will testify on the FY13 International Affairs Budget before the House and Senate authorizing and appropriations committees on February 28th and 29th.

Must Reads

Who’s in the News

President’s Budget Request Reflects Strong Commitment on Global AIDS (Ambassador Eric Goosby, DipNote)

The President’s budget for FY 2013 requests $1.65 billion for a contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, fulfilling his pledge to seek $4 billion over three years for the Fund. As the President has stated, the response to the global AIDS pandemic is a shared responsibility. The Global Fund is the vehicle for others to step up and increase their investments. In fact, each dollar we invest in the Fund leverages $2.50 from other donors, and we will continue to seek to leverage our donations with other partners.  In October 2010, the U.S. tied our historic multi-year pledge to the Global Fund to successful implementation of reforms that increase the impact of grants. The Fund took decisive action in adopting comprehensive reforms last year, and we are encouraged by the appointment of the Fund’s new General Manager, Gabriel Jaramillo, who has promised to advance the reform agenda as rapidly as possible. As a sign of support, the Gates Foundation has recently announced a $750 million commitment to the Fund, and Saudi Arabia has stepped up and contributed to the Fund for the first time.

Smart Power

Proposed Shifts in Foreign Aid Reflect Changes in Pakistan, Arab World (Emily Cadei, CQ) (Subscription required – Word document attached)

The Obama administration is seeking savings in the State Department and foreign aid budget by paring back assistance for Europe and troublesome ally Pakistan, as well as reducing spending in some global health and humanitarian programs. At the same time, the White House is looking to boost spending to support the democratic transitions taking place amid the Arab Spring, through a new fund to respond to short-term crises as well as promote long-term economic, political and trade reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

Obama proposes $800 million in aid for “Arab Spring” (Susan Cornwell, Reuters)

The White House announced plans on Monday to help “Arab Spring” countries swept by revolutions with more than $800 million in economic aid, while maintaining U.S. military aid to Egypt.  In his annual budget message to Congress, President Barack Obama asked that military aid to Egypt be kept at the level of recent years — $1.3 billion — despite a crisis triggered by an Egyptian probe targeting American democracy activists.  Obama proposed $51.6 billion in funding for the U.S. State Department and foreign aid overall, when $8.2 billion in assistance to war zones is included. The “core budget” for the category would increase by 1.6 percent, officials said.  Most of the economic aid for the Arab Spring countries — $770 million — would go to establish a new “Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund,” the president said in his budget plan.

State Department to see modest spending increase (Joby Warrick, The Washington Post)

 The State Department would receive a modest boost in revenue, in part to offset costs for increased responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The administration’s plan calls for $43.4 in funding for the department’s so-called “core” budget, with an additional $8.2 billion for “overseas contingency operations,” which includes civilian-led missions in war zones. Total spending would rise by 1.6 percent over 2012 levels.  Nearly $5 billion in State Department spending was earmarked for both Iraq and Afghanistan, where the department faces added burdens as a result of withdrawal of U.S. troops. The money would support programs ranging from police and military training to counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics efforts. In Afghanistan in particular, the increased funding would also strengthen ongoing political reconciliation efforts and well as economic development ahead of the departure of combat forces two years from now.

Politics/Foreign Policy

5 coming battles over the 2013 international affairs budget (Josh Rogin, The Cable, FP)

The State Department rolled out its fiscal 2013 budget request today, which contains several items that are sure to meet resistance when lawmakers roll up their sleeves and dig into the budget this spring and summer. International programs don’t have strong constituencies on Capitol Hill to begin with, and Congress has its own ideas for how to spend foreign aid. The State Department knows all of this, of course, and has framed its fiscal 2013 budget request as a small portion of the federal budget that contributes directly to national security. State’s $51.6 billion request, however, faces a GOP-led House that is searching hard for discretionary budget items to cut and a foreign-policy-minded Senate that wants to use aid to press foreign governments to act more in line with U.S. priorities.

Egyptian minister says U.S. tried to use NGOs to control country’s future (Ernesto Londoño, Washington Post)

The Egyptian minister who triggered raids on American-funded pro-democracy organizations in December has said that the United States tried to use the groups to control the future of post-revolutionary Egypt.  The report in the Middle East News Agency provides new insight into why the government has acted so aggressively in investigating the work of several non-governmental organizations, including the Washington-based International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.  “The United States decided to use all its resources and tools to contain the situation and push it in a direction that promotes American and also Israeli interests,” Faiza Abou el-Naga, the minister who coordinates foreign aid, told the investigative judges assigned to the case last fall, the news service reported.