Obama’s 2012 Budget Proposal Requests Boost For GHI Funding, Slight Core Budget Increases For State, USAID

President Barack Obama “released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 on Monday,” the New York Times reports (Calmes, 2/14). The president’s “fiscal 2012 budget allocates $47 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which reflects only a 1 percent increase over 2010 levels for the core budget,” National Journal writes (Sorcher, 2/14).  

“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 [GHI] … would get an 11 percent increase,” the Washington Post’s “44” blog reports (Sheridan, 2/14).

“Overall, the Administration will invest $9.8 billion in the GHI in 2012 and continues to pursue the ambitious health outcome targets laid out in the GHI strategy document as well as efficiencies in program delivery,” the White House’s 2012 budget document (.pdf) states (2/14). Science’s “Science Insider” blog notes that the FY12 budget asked for $1.3 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a boost from its FY10 level of $1.05 billion. The 2012 budget also proposes allocating $100 million for neglected tropical diseases (Cohen , 2/14). CDC’s budget request (.pdf) “also includes $112 million for polio eradication, an increase of $11 million over the 2010 level,” the the Washington Post’s “44” blog reports in a separate post. Obama also requested $32 billion for the NIH (Brown, 2/14).

According to CQ, “[t]he administration’s funding request for its global health and child survival initiative sets up a battle with House Republicans, who proposed a major funding cut in their fiscal 2011 budget (HR 1) unveiled last week. … House Republicans proposed a $784 million cut to fiscal 2010 funding levels for those programs” (Cadei, 2/14).

Obama’s budget also “proposes cuts to a wide range of State Department and foreign-operations programs, including the complete elimination of foreign assistance and military training to several countries,” according to Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable.” The State Department “slashed requested 2012 funding for assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia by $115 million from the fiscal 2011 request,” the blog notes. “Although not subject to a freeze in funding, the department is committed to finding efficiencies, cutting waste, and focusing on key priorities. Accordingly, foreign assistance to several countries has been eliminated,” a State Department budget overview (.pdf) states. The reductions were made “in order to focus funding on regions with the greatest assistance needs,” according to the document (Rogin [1], 2/14).

The countries slated for assistance elimination are: “North Korea, Tonga, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, for a total savings of $4.5 million,” according to a second post on “The Cable.” Also, State and USAID’s plan to expand its base of foreign service officers will be delayed “until at least fiscal 2014.” The plan was supposed to be completed in FY12. At a briefing on Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides said, “We recognize that these are exceptionally tight times. With the resources outlined in this budget, the State Department and USAID can continue to protect our interests, project our values, promote growth, and above all, serve our national security” (Rogin [2], 2/14).   

Overall USAID’s funding “remained largely flat,” but some parts of the agency “received increases in the 2012 request,” according to “The Cable.” The blog writes: “The president’s budget proposal requested $1.5 billion for operating expenses, slightly higher than last year” (Rogin [1], 2/14).

The Obama administration’s funding request for the State Department and USAID is “far more than Congress has been willing to spend on diplomatic and development activities,” CQ notes. A portion of the funding is to cover a “boost in funding for civilian operations in war zones such as Iraq, which is supposed to compensate for the steep drop in Defense Department spending as combat troops depart” (2/14).

The State Department has a web page with resources on the president’s 2012 budget request.

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