In Gambella, Ethiopia, Action Against Hunger's US Government-funded programs support the health and well-being of refugees from South Sudan.

President’s Proposed Budget Slashes Funding for International Development

The White House has requested a 22% cut in lifesaving foreign assistance programs for FY21

Every year, the President lays out their ideal budget in a non-binding document that reflects their priorities. In this year’s proposal, released on February 10, the Trump Administration puts forth deep cuts to the international affairs budget, including many programs crucial to Action Against Hunger’s work such as nutrition, food security, and humanitarian assistance.

Overall, the White House proposes slashing international affairs spending by 22 percent, for a total budget of $40.8 billion. This is the fourth consecutive year in which the Administration has proposed sharp reductions in funding for the State Department and USAID. 

Here are how some key areas fared in the President’s budget:

  • Food for Peace and International Disaster Assistance —The President’s budget would eliminate both the International Disaster Assistance and Food for Peace accounts and consolidate food aid and other humanitarian assistance into a new International Humanitarian Assistance account. The White House made this same recommendation in the past several years, and each time it has been rejected by the House and Senate. Last year, Food For Peace, which works to alleviate global hunger and support the world’s most vulnerable people, received $1.725 billion in funding, and International Disaster Assistance, which helps save lives in the wake of disasters like earthquakes, conflicts, and floods, was funded at $4.4 billion.
     
  • Development Assistance —The President’s budget would also eliminate Development Assistance funding, consolidating it into several other budget accounts. Congress has repeatedly rejected this proposal as well and, last year, Development Assistance—which fuels global programs to reduce poverty, support education, improve agricultural production, and a whole lot more—was funded at $3.4 billion.
     
  • Global Health — The administration requested $6 billion for State and USAID’s global health programming, down sharply from $9 billion allocated by Congress for global health in FY20.
     
  • Nutrition — The President’s budget recommends $90 million in funding for lifesaving nutrition programs, a significant cut from $150 million provided by Congress last year.
     
  • Feed the Future — Feed the Future, the flagship food security program of the U.S. government, would be slashed to $506 million, a cut of roughly 50 percent from the FY20 funding level of just over $1 billion.

It’s important to remember that the President’s budget request is only a suggested blueprint from the administration. Funding for international development and the rest of the federal budget is controlled by Congress, which will soon begin drafting its own funding bills for FY21. 

Action Against Hunger strongly urges the House and Senate to reject these sharp, proposed cuts and fund development and humanitarian programming robustly for the upcoming year. The international development budget represents a tiny fraction of the overall federal budget — and every day, highly-effective US-funded programs make a real difference in the lives of people living in poverty around the globe.

With food insecurity rates on the rise around the world, it’s more important now than ever for the United States to stand as a leader in the fight against hunger and poverty. The lives and well-being of millions of people depend on it.

Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good within our lifetimes. For 40 years, the humanitarian and development organization has been on the front lines, treating and preventing hunger across nearly 50 countries. It served more than 21 million people in 2018 alone.