Budget 2012: State Department/USAID
President Obama's 2012 budget proposal says that funding for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) would increase only 1 percent over 2010 levels, to $47 billion. But that's not the whole picture.
The document would move funding for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan into a separate account, for "Overseas Contingency Operations," following the practice of the Department of Defense. Taken together, the two accounts would represent an 8 percent increase for the State Department and USAID over the 2010 budget--or total spending of nearly $58 billion.
The biggest increase would be in funding for Iraq, which would nearly double from the $2.8 billion spent in 2010. The reason for the rise: the State Department will assume responsibility for more than 400 activities from U.S. soldiers when they pull out at the end of 2011. The funding for U.S. diplomats, aid workers and civilian-run programs in the country is "more than offset by reduced costs for the Department of Defense," which would spend about $10 billion in Iraq in 2012, down from $62 billion in 2010, the document says.
The base budget for the State Department and USAID reflects the Obama administration's global development strategy announced last year. The president's Global Health Initiative, which is aimed at combating HIV-AIDS and other diseases in poor countries, would get an 11 percent increase, to $8.7 billion. Development assistance would grow from $2.5 billion to $2.9 billion. The administration would provide more funding for the Export-Import Bank to help it promote U.S. exports.
But other areas would be cut. Assistance for Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia would pgo down by 18 percent, to $627 million. There would also be reductions in bilateral assistance, funding for international organizations and peacekeeping, and migration and refugee assistance.
The president's budget request comes, however, as House Republicans are seeking deep cuts in the State Department and development budgets. They are proposing to spend only $45 billion for 2011.
Mary Beth Sheridan
| February 14, 2011; 11:59 AM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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