Nearly two months after the release of its discretionary funding request, the Administration has published the full details of its Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal. The request for the International Affairs Budget provides important insights into the Administration’s spending priorities as COVID-19 surges around the world, threatening America’s recovery at home.
In line with the discretionary request, the detailed budget proposes a $6.3 billion increase for the International Affairs Budget compared to the FY21 non-emergency enacted level. According to the Administration, additional resources would support the Administration’s agenda to confront “21st century security challenges” and “revitalize U.S. leadership to accelerate our domestic renewal, deliver for all Americans, and meet the tests before us… from a position of strength.” If enacted, this would represent the largest increase to the regular International Affairs Budget in over a decade.
Specifically, the request includes $63.7 billion for the International Affairs Budget – 11% above the FY21 enacted level when excluding emergency funding – with increases across a wide range of programs and accounts, from global health security to climate change to development finance.
Reflecting the reality that the world has dramatically changed since last year, the Administration’s budget proposes an important down payment on international affairs needs – consistent with expert recommendations for vital new investments in pandemic preparedness, to address the myriad of ongoing global health and humanitarian crises, and to ensure American competitiveness. As the Administration prepares for the upcoming G7 Summit, this is the right moment to send an unequivocal message that the U.S. is stepping up on the global stage to protect the health, security and economic interests of American families.
As the budget and appropriations process begins in earnest, the USGLC urges Congress to support no less than this International Affairs funding level as the floor in all FY22 spending negotiations.
Below are six key takeaways from the Administration’s FY22 International Affairs Budget request, many of which track closely with recommendations included in the USGLC’s Global Needs Assessment released earlier this year. Additional details are included later on in this analysis.
Not surprisingly, with COVID-19 continuing to devastate countries around the world, the Administration’s FY22 request boosts overall global health funding by 9%. This is almost entirely due to an $805 million (424%) increase for Global Health Security to “build country capacities to prevent avoidable epidemics, detect threats early, and respond rapidly and effectively to disease outbreaks and other critical infectious disease threats.” As a result, funding for most other global health programs – including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and nutrition – is held flat despite growing concerns about backsliding on decades of progress due to COVID-19 and political instability in places like Nigeria, Yemen and Venezuela.
The FY22 request includes a 22% increase for State Department and USAID economic and development assistance accounts, with the Economic Support Fund and Development Assistance growing by 35% and 16%, respectively. With a focus on building future economic partners and bolstering America’s own economic recovery, funding would elevate “economic growth programs that promote food secure and resilient partners,” promote commercial ties, and expand trade in countries from Africa to the Indo-Pacific to the Western Hemisphere.
With the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance up 40% since last year and COVID-19 exacerbating conflict and crises across the globe, the FY22 request includes a 6% increase in funding for Humanitarian Assistance. According to the Administration, this would ensure continued U.S. leadership in response to emerging (Ethiopia) and protracted crises (Syria, Yemen, Venezuela) and unexpected natural disasters, while also investing in resilience.
In keeping with the strategic priorities outlined in the Administration’s Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, the FY22 budget request increases funding in several priority areas, including:
In recent years, Democratic and Republican administrations and Members of Congress have collaborated on game changing initiatives to strengthen America’s development and diplomacy tools. New administrations have embraced and integrated these bipartisan priorities into their foreign policy agendas. The Administration’s FY22 request builds on this legacy by sustaining programs launched under the previous administration – including Prosper Africa, the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, and the successor to W-GDP —at or above FY21 enacted levels.
The FY22 request proposes to increase the State Department and USAID accounts that fund our personnel and diplomatic presence around the world by 3% and 11%, respectively. According to the Administration, additional resources would support the largest staffing increase for the foreign and civil service in a decade. The request would also support training and recruitment to advance diversity and inclusion across both agencies as well as “human capital initiatives, security, and information technology” to support the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of a wide range of foreign assistance programs.