Happening This Week:
§ Last night, President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on his plans to address the global economic crisis. President Obama and his team, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have recognized that any solution to this crisis must recognize the role of U.S. global leadership in restoring our economic prosperity.
§ Today, the House will vote on the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which includes $38.2 billion in funding for non-military international affairs. See detailed analysis on this measure below.
§ Tomorrow, the Obama Administration will release its blueprint for the President’s FY 2010 Budget proposal. See below for background on President Obama’s campaign pledges for international affairs funding and what to watch for in Thursday’s release.
FAST FACTS: FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act
§ Congress is on track to approve $38.2 billion for the FY09 International Affairs Budget, a $3.9 billion or 11% increase over present spending (less supplementals). The International Affairs Budget funds the State Department’s diplomatic programs, global health initiatives on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and other development and humanitarian assistance programs to help stabilize fragile states, reduce global poverty and assist refugees. It also covers U.S. food aid and democracy, human rights and public diplomacy efforts critical to restoring America’s image abroad.
§ Assuming the FY 2009 Omnibus is enacted, a mere 1.3% of the entire federal budget, the U.S. International Affairs Budget funds America’s “smart power” tools of diplomacy and development – two of the three pillars of U.S. national security. Defense funding will equal 19.9% for FY 2009.
§ While Congress and the Administration have worked together in a bipartisan manner over the past eight years to increase investments in our international affairs programs, funding for our non-military foreign policy efforts remains below Cold War spending levels.
§ The FY09 Omnibus bill includes additional funding for 500 new Foreign Service Officers at the State Department and 300 for USAID as part of the commitment to rebuild the capacity of America’s civilian international affairs agencies.
Visit the USGLC website for a more detailed analysis of the FY09 International Affairs Budget.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: President’s FY 2010 Budget Request
On the campaign trail, President Barack Obama made bold and far-reaching commitments to elevate diplomacy and development in U.S. foreign policy, including:
§ Increase the size of the Foreign Service, USAID and the Peace Corps
§ Adopt the Millennium Development Goals as the United States’ goals
§ Double annual U.S. foreign assistance to $50 billion
§ Modernize our foreign assistance policies, tools and operations
§ Increase funding to combat HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria to $50 billion over 5 years
As the President announces his FY 2010 Budget, the amount he requests for the top-line request for the International Affairs Budget will signify the extent to which the Administration will pursue its commitments to “smart power” – strengthening the fundamental diplomatic and development pillars of U.S. national security – in the next fiscal year. There is broad, bipartisan support for providing the robust funding for the International Affairs budget necessary to implement a “smart power” approach to U.S. global engagement.
§ In December, 217 Members of Congress (51 Senators and 166 Representatives) sent a letter to then-President-elect Obama: “As you prepare your Administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 federal budget, we urge your support for a robust International Affairs Budget – one that reinforces the continued bipartisan commitment of Congress and your Administration to invest in the strategic tools that are essential to ensuring our national security, building economic prosperity and demonstrating our moral values.”
§ And earlier this month, 47 retired senior military officers sent a letter to President Obama: “The global realities of the 21st century require the United States to utilize the full range of non-military tools as a fundamental pillar of our national security. Strong U.S. leadership is essential to strengthen democratic governance, alleviate global poverty, improve human conditions, and harness economic potential.”
Key statements by President Obama and Administration officials indicating their support for this effort:
§ President Barack Obama in last night’s Congressional Address: “To meet the challenges of the 21st century – from terrorism to nuclear proliferation; from pandemic disease to cyber threats to crushing poverty – we will strengthen old alliances, forge new ones, and use all elements of our national power.”
§ Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “It has become clear that America’s civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long – relative to what we traditionally spend on the military, and more important, relative to the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world.”
§ Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her confirmation hearing: “One of my first priorities is to make sure that the State Department and USAID have the resources they need, and I will be back to make the case to the committee for full funding of the President’s budget requests.”
After the President’s FY 2010 budget blueprint is released on Thursday, visit the USGLC’s website (www.usglc.org) for more detailed analysis of his proposed International Affairs funding.