Better World Campaign Statement calls Administration’s Proposed Foreign Affairs Budget Cuts “Unwise”

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Administration again calls for deep cuts to foreign affairs spending despite wide criticism such cuts harm U.S. interests

"For the second year in a row, the Administration is proposing unwise and disproportionate cuts to U.S. foreign affairs spending, which would undermine American leadership globally, including at the United Nations." - Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign

Better World Campaign President Peter Yeo issued the following statement today regarding the proposed funding cuts to foreign affairs spending and the United Nations in the Administration’s FY’19 budget request to Congress:

“For the second year in a row, the Administration is proposing unwise and disproportionate cuts to U.S. foreign affairs spending, which would undermine American leadership globally, including at the United Nations and its agencies.

“The foreign affairs UN-related budget numbers are almost an exact replica of last year’s request, which was widely and wisely dismissed as harmful to U.S. interests abroad. In fact, over the past year, we have seen military voices, business leaders and leaders in Congress all stress the importance of robust foreign affairs funding and continued support for the UN.

“Although the final budget decisions ultimately rest in the hands of Members of Congress, the proposed cuts outlined in this budget document undermine the Administration’s own agenda at the UN, including recent UN reforms championed by Ambassador Nikki Haley.

“For example, this past December the UN adopted a budget that was $285 million less than the 2016-17 budget. Furthermore, the findings of a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report demonstrate that supporting UN Peacekeeping operations is eight times cheaper than the U.S. going it alone. Simply put, supporting the UN is both in our national security interests and a good deal for American taxpayers but this budget proposal fails to recognize this fact.

Specifically, the Administration’s FY’19 budget request calls for:

  • Deep and disproportionate cuts to the overall International Affairs Budget, amounting to an eighteen-billion-dollar reduction from FY’17 enacted levels. Funding drops from $59.6 billion in FY’17 to $41.7 billion in FY’19 – a 30 percent cut from FY’17;
  • A reduction again of over $710 million for the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account, which includes UN Peacekeeping funding. The account drops from $1.908 billion to $1.196 billion – a 37 percent cut from FY’17 enacted levels;
  • A cut of over $260 million for the Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) Account, which includes the UN Regular Budget and specialized agencies like the World Health Organization whose budget was halved. The account drops from $1.359 billion to $1.095 million – an almost 20 percent cut from FY’17 enacted levels;
  • An almost $2.5 billion -dollar reduction to the Global Health Programs Account, with family planning funding halved, funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria cut by over 30%, and funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was cut by 13%. On top of the expanded Gag Rule, these cuts will have real impact on people’s lives. Overall the account drops from $8.757 billion to $6.302 billion – a 28 percent cut from FY’17 enacted levels;
  • Ending U.S. funding for UN climate change programs, including the Green Climate Fund;
  • Completely defunding the International Organizations and Programs (IO&P) Account, which includes voluntary contributions to UN agencies, like the UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Environment, UN Women, and UNFPA.

“With the FY’19 budget negotiations moving to Capitol Hill, we look forward to working with House and Senate Appropriators to ensure the U.S. continues to invest wisely in a robust foreign affairs budget and meet our full funding obligations to the UN.”

About the Better World Campaign

The Better World Campaign works to foster a strong relationship between the U.S. and the UN to promote core American interests and build a more secure, prosperous, and healthy world. The Better World Campaign engages policymakers, the media, and the American public alike to increase awareness of the critical role played by the UN in world affairs and the importance of constructive U.S.-UN relations.

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Media Contacts:

Erika Howard | ebriceno@betterworldcampaign.org | 202-864-5156

Kathryn Kross | kkross@betterworldcampaign.org | 202-862-8577

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