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2014 Spending Plan Reflects U.S. Priorities



Published on 15 February 2014



by Kathryn McConnell

(WireNews)

Washington, D.C.

The United States will provide $49 billion in funding for 2014 commitments to allies, contributions to the United Nations and international organizations, the global fight against HIV/AIDS, and support for global Internet freedom programs.

The annual foreign assistance funding legislation, signed in January by President Obama, is about $2.2 billion less than last year.

The president submitted his request in April 2013 for funding for fiscal year 2014 foreign operations. The House of Representatives and the Senate spent months deliberating before each passed versions of appropriations bills for foreign operations and other government functions. They then negotiated a final omnibus appropriations bill and sent it to the president for signature or veto.

KEY ALLIES, HUMANITARIAN CRISES

In support of key allies, the spending plan allocates more than $3 billion for military aid for Israel and $1 billion for Jordan. It provides up to $1.3 billion in military aid for Egypt and $250 million for Egypt’s economic development.

The law also provides $81 billion in new funding for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt.

The measure includes the amount the president requested to respond to humanitarian crises in Syria, Central Africa, Somalia and other places. That includes $3 billion for migration and refugee assistance, nearly $2 billion for international disaster aid, and $460 million for the Complex Crisis Fund.

HEALTH, PEACEKEEPING, TECHNOLOGY AND CLIMATE

The law provides $1.6 billion for global HIV/AIDS assistance; $4 billion to fund the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); and $330 million for USAID’s AIDS programs.

The law increased to $59 million funding for polio prevention, including $8 million for Afghanistan and Pakistan and to support multilateral polio eradication efforts. It provides $175 million to provide lifesaving vaccines to children in low-income countries, $665 million to combat malaria, $236 million to fight tuberculosis, $100 million to combat neglected tropical diseases, and $72 million to prepare for pandemics and other emerging health threats.

The legislation provides almost $2 billion in contributions for peacekeeping operations, an additional nearly $2 billion for NATO, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other U.N. organizations (except UNESCO), and more than $1 billion for the World Bank’s lending branch.

It authorizes $185 million for the international Clean Technology Fund and $50 million for the Strategic Climate Fund.

INTERNET FREEDOM

The law includes more than $50 million to promote Internet freedom to countries where governments restrict freedom of speech and freedom of association in online communications. It requires U.S. agencies to coordinate with other Internet freedom, democracy and broadcasting programs to continue research and development of new technologies, and to identify threats to Internet freedom.

EXPORTS

The law also supports promotion of U.S. goods and services exports around the world with more than $115 million for the Export-Import Bank, $89 million for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and $55 million for the Trade and Development Agency.

FOOD AID

Under the section of the law that covers agriculture programs, $1.5 billion was approved for Food for Peace grants, $107 million more than in the previous year. Food for Peace, the anchor program for humanitarian aid, combats hunger and malnutrition worldwide and includes funding for multiyear development projects. Food for Peace has provided assistance for more than 50 years and has helped about 3 billion people in 150 countries.

The law maintains a level of $185 million for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. The program benefits low-income children and mothers and has been credited with improving school attendance, especially among girls.

The spending plan includes increases in funds for agricultural research, animal disease control, and food safety and inspection.




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Posted 2014-02-15 10:12:00