March 24, 2014 | Issue Brief on Foreign Aid and Development
President Barack Obama released his fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget proposal on March 4, 2014. Although much of the budget reflects long-standing programmatic and budgetary practice, there are 11 specific issues that Congress should address.
The President’s FY 2015 budget request for International Affairs (IA) totals $50.01 billion, including a base budget of $44.1 billion and an additional $5.91 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) tied to operational costs for Afghanistan, Iraq, and associated activities of the global war on terrorism (GWOT). This request is $714 million less than the FY 2014 estimated budget and $1.8 billion less than the FY 2013 actual budget. Within this budget request are a number of controversial budgetary and policy positions that Congress should reject or modify, as well as others that the Obama Administration ignores or inappropriately seeks to eliminate or curtail. Specifically, Congress should:
The Obama Administration is using the FY 2015 budget to advance its funding and policy priorities, as is to be expected. However, as a co-equal branch of government with power of the purse, Congress should exercise its authority to express and defend its budgetary and policy priorities.
—Brett D. Schaefer is Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a department of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation and editor of ConUNdrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009).
 U.S. Department of State, “FY 2015 Congressional Budget Justification—Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs,” March 4, 2014, http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/rls/ebs/2015/index.htm (accessed March 21, 2014).
 FY 2005 budget data from Department of State, “FY 2007 International Affairs (Function 150) Budget Request,” February 6, 2006, http://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/rls/iab/2007/html/60199.htm (accessed March 21, 2014), and U.S. Office of Management and Budget, “Historical Tables: Table 10.1—Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables: 1940–2019,” http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals (accessed March 21, 2015). The FY 2005 data in the State Department congressional budget justification for FY 2007 are higher than the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Budget Authority figure of $32.85 billion in “Table 5.1—Budget Authority by Function and Subfunction: 1976–2019.” Real data use the OMB GDP (chained) price index estimate for 2014.
 Brett D. Schaefer, “U.S. Must Enforce Peacekeeping Cap to Lower America’s U.N. Assessment,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2762, January 25, 2013, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/us-must-enforce-peacekeeping-cap-to-lower-americas-un-assessment.
 Bryan Riley and Brett D. Schaefer, “U.S. Food Aid Should Focus on Combating Hunger and Malnutrition in Poor Nations,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 3910, April 15, 2013, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/04/us-food-aid-should-focus-on-combating-hunger-and-malnutrition-in-poor-nations.
 James M. Roberts, “Congress Should Block the Morally Hazardous IMF ‘Reform’ Package,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 4124, January 14, 2014, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/01/us-congress-should-block-the-hazardous-imf-reform-package.
 Richard McNider and John Christy, “Why Kerry Is Flat Wrong on Climate Change,” The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2014; Roy W. Spencer, “Statement to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the U.S. Senate” for the hearing Climate Change: It’s Happening Now, July 18, 2013, http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=16e80c55-9ebf-42e4-852e-1f6e960b0902 (accessed March 21, 2014); and Roger Pielke Jr., “Statement to the Environment and Public Works Committee of the United States Senate” for the hearing Climate Change: It’s Happening Now, July 18, 2013, http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=a6df9665-e8c8-4b0f-a550-07669df48b15 (accessed March 21, 2014).
 Office of Management and Budget, Appendix: Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2015, pp. 825–940, http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2015/assets/appendix.pdf (accessed March 21, 2014).
 Brett D. Schaefer, “U.S. Should Demand Increased Transparency and Accountability as U.N. Revenues Rise,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 4154, February 26, 2014, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/02/as-un-revenues-rise-the-us-should-demand-increased-transparency-and-accountability.