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Biden’s Budget Request Revives Foreign Aid

April 14, 2021 by Daniel Mollenkamp
President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 pandemic during a prime-time address from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON- President Joseph Biden’s discretionary budget request for the fiscal year 2022 includes significant increases to foreign assistance, reversing the trend of the last four years.

Although foreign assistance represents a small part of the overall American budget, it came under scrutiny in the last administration, which didn’t prize the role of development in pursuit of strategic national interests and instead adopted an “America first” approach. 

The U.S. Agency for International Development said of this year’s proposed budget, the first for the Biden administration, that it would significantly advance development interests across a whole range of areas. 

The president’s budget proposal itself emphasizes that it seeks to make diplomacy the centerpiece of American foreign policy, and to make critical investments “after years of neglect.”

Among the more notable increases are $200 million in increases to bilateral programming to the Department of State and USAID to expand international programs that address climate change, as well as investments in adaptation and resilience, renewable energy, and sustainable landscapes. 

It also included an $861 million investment to tackle the root causes of migration from Central America, which is part of a four-year $4 billion commitment, subject to the availability of appropriations. 

It further provides for $10 billion in global health program investments, as well as notable pro-democracy commitments and commitments to ensure a diverse and inclusive federal workforce.

“After four years of proposed cuts to foreign assistance in the president’s budget

requests, the discretionary request proposes the most robust commitment in the agency’s history to strengthen USAID’s development and humanitarian assistance around the world,” a written comment from USAID said.

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