News / USA

US Seeks Flexibility with Shrinking Foreign Aid Budget

FILE - A U.S. flag is seen flying atop an American embassy building.FILE - A U.S. flag is seen flying atop an American embassy building.
x
FILE - A U.S. flag is seen flying atop an American embassy building.
FILE - A U.S. flag is seen flying atop an American embassy building.
— The U.S. State Department will be working with $46.2 billion in funding next year under President Barack Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, a slight decrease from this year. The proposal includes cuts to foreign aid. The spending plan’s release is already having an impact on how diplomats look to distribute it.
 
State Department officials point out that their funding request amounts to only about one percent of the overall U.S. budget. But a still-struggling U.S. economy and growing concerns about the nation's debt calls for flexibility.
 
Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom says the proposed budget reflects the challenges the U.S. faces today.
 
"This budget funds the work that is required to sustain long-term investments in America's security and prosperity while recognizing the significant fiscal constraints we're facing as a nation," says Higginbottom.
 
The deputy secretary stressed that despite the budgetary restraints, the U.S. will continue to pour resources into places like the Middle East.
 
"Including our partnerships with key allies like Israel and Jordan and maintains robust support for partners in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Lebanon," said Higginbottom.
 
That support for Egypt comes even as Cairo's military leaders have sought to strengthen ties with Russia, looking to Moscow for weapons and other assistance.
 
Still, Todd Harrison at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments says aid to countries like Egypt often pays off.
 
"It’s a good investment for times of crisis just so that we can have those channels of communication, both formal and informal," says Harrison.
 
Overall, the proposed foreign aid budget comes to $30.3 billion, a six percent decrease, with funding cuts for Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where U.S. combat troops are set to leave at year's end. 
 
But the State Department plans to spend more money in the Asia-Pacific region, upping funding for programs there by eight percent to $1.4 billion.
 
And, in places like Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Rajiv Shah says Washington is looking to do more by working with others.
 
"By leveraging public and private partnerships and leveraging innovation, we're able to deliver better and more focused results," says Shah.
 
The State Department's proposed budget also is taking aim at disasters that are not man-made, setting aside more than $500 million to help countries adapt and recover from the effects of climate change.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid