Senate Budget Committee Threatens Foreign Aid Spending in FY11

April 27, 2010
by John Fawcett, Legislative Director

Last week the Senate Budget Committee passed its blueprint for federal spending in Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) and struck a potentially crippling blow to U.S. foreign aid programs by slashing $4 billion from the International Affairs account. This cut was the only reduction made to the president’s budget request, and it came in spite of a letter from 31 Senators urging support for full funding for the International Affairs account.

The International Affairs account is only 1.5 percent of the total federal budget and includes not just development programs, but also diplomacy and the State Department as well. While it may be politically expedient to slash overseas funding in the midst of an economic downturn, this shortsighted move will have a negligible impact on the federal deficit while potentially devastating effective programs to fight global poverty.

Thankfully, the Senate can still reverse this misguided decision by the Budget Committee. As the budget resolution comes to the Senate floor, supporters of the International Affairs account are expected to offer an amendment to restore funding to the president’s requested level. Stay tuned and be prepared to ask your senators to fully fund health, education, and anti-poverty programs abroad.

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