US approves slightly higher foreign assistance budget, at US$62.7 billion, for fiscal year 2021

As part of a joint US$2.30 trillion omnibus appropriations and supplemental COVID-19 relief bill, the US Congress approved funding for US foreign assistance at slightly higher levels than for the previous fiscal year. Despite last-minute criticisms of the overall bill, including the size of the domestic COVID-19 stimulus checks, US President Donald Trump signed the bill and averted another government shutdown.

The overall US foreign assistance funding level for fiscal year (FY) 2021 was set at US$62.7 billion. This included US$5.3 billion in emergency assistance, as well as US$4.0 billion that went to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance for vaccine distribution assistance.

The large funding cuts proposed by Trump for the FY2021 budget were once again rejected by Congress. The total amount for the International Affairs Budget (which represents almost the entirety of US foreign assistance) increased by US$3.4 billion over FY2020, largely due to increases in emergency assistance. There were small increases in food assistance, global health security, and development finance funding, but most accounts held steady at FY2020 levels.

Development advocates had hoped for more international assistance for COVID-19 related efforts and had been pushing for funding ranging around US$20.0 billion in supplemental appropriations. 

Report - US Global Leadership Coalition