The Global Citizen

Search form

Category: president's budget

The President's Budget Request: What Does It Mean for International Affairs Funding?

U.N. peacekeeper

Tomorrow may be Valentine's Day, but for those of us who care about international affairs funding (or federal funding of any kind, for that matter), today was a day which has long been almost as breathlessly anticipated: the release of the President's annual budget request for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2013.  (I know, not as delightful as Valentine's Day, but still important.)

President Obama stressed that his overall budget aims to balance many different priorities, such as spurring job growth while reigning in the deficit.  But stepping away from that bigger picture, what does the President's budget request mean for funding for international affairs in the next year?

President Obama has requested $51.6 billion for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  Within that, budget priorities include funding for the "frontline states" (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq); human and economic security; support for embassies and the U.S. global presence; and support for U.S. allies and contributions to multilateral organizations.

When it comes to U.S. support for the United Nations, the funding outlook is actually pretty good.  The President has requested $1.57 billion for the Contributions to International Organizations (or CIO) account, which pays U.S. dues to the United Nations and many other international organizations in which we participate, including NATO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  This is an increase of $19 million over last year's funding level.  The President also asks for approximately $2.1 billion for the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) budget account, which funds peacekeeping missions in countries around the globe including Darfur, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The request for CIPA is $270 million higher than last year's total.

The President's Budget Proposal: What Does It Mean For International Affairs Funding?

President Obama released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 yesterday, launching the annual budgetary process in which the White House and Congress struggle to come to terms on spending legislation acceptable to both branches of government.  The outlook for international affairs funding in the President's budget is not overly encouraging, particularly regarding funding for the United Nations and peacekeeping missions--but all things considered, it could be worse.

The President's budget proposal provides $47 billion in discretionary spending for the Departments of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  This represents a 1 percent increase from Fiscal Year 2010 (the last time the government successfully enacted a budget, as the FY 2011 budget has not yet been completed).  Unfortunately, funding for international organizations and peacekeeping would be reduced under the President's budget proposal, to $3.539 billion from the $3.8 billion total allocated in FY 2010.  $75 million is proposed for the Complex Crises Fund (CCF).  The President's budget also recommends creating a new Global Security Contingency Fund, a "funding mechanism to facilitate greater joint Department of Defense-State planning, funding, and execution of security sector and stabilization assistance programs worldwide."

CGS is concerned that any cuts to the Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) account--which funds America's dues to the United Nations and other multilateral organizations--and the Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account-which funds UN peacekeeping missions-will have a harmful effect on our relationships with the international community and will hurt peacekeeping efforts around the globe.  However, we are pleased to see an increase, however slight, in overall international affairs funding levels from FY10.