Washington, DC – Following the release of the preview of President Biden’s first budget request, Foreign Policy for America would like to highlight the critical importance of funding for diplomacy and the State Department. While today’s release is just a limited look at what the Biden administration’s full budget will eventually include, we recognize the 12% increase in funding for the State Department, USAID, and other international programs as an important step toward reversing the damage of the Trump years and right-sizing our non-military budget for engaging the world at this critical time.
The Biden administration has regularly discussed priorities like global health, climate change, and the support of democracy globally, and in this budget proposal we see the financial backing to take positive steps in those areas. While Congress will ultimately determine the budget, the proposal from the White House sets the stage for lawmakers, and spotlights the administration’s commitment to restore diplomacy as a “centerpiece of American foreign policy.”
Earlier this month Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. Ami Bera, and Rep. David Cicilline released a plan that called for a $12 billion increase in funding for the State Department and USAID. The accompanying report, Investing in 21st Century Diplomacy, lays out what $12 billion could do, to include funding for increased staffing in the Foreign Service and at USAID, more than $8 billion in additional funding for global health and global health security, and over $3 billion in new funding for a Green Climate Fund. We’re glad to see the Biden administration is prioritizing funding for diplomacy, but as this plan lays out, we urge Congress to consider an even larger amount for the State Department in the final budget.
“If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that military power alone isn’t enough to safeguard Americans’ security or our prosperity,” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “After four years of neglect, this budget represents a valuable first step toward revitalizing American diplomacy. But the question is whether this 12% increase is enough to close the gap between our hollowed out diplomatic capacities and the extraordinary challenges we face.”