US Congress approves slight increase in development spending
US Congress has approved slight increases in US foreign assistance spending for fiscal year 2019 as part of the large Omnibus spending bill approved by US Congress to end the partial government shutdown. The State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill, which funds the State Department (State), the United State Agency for International Development (USAID), and other US agencies responsible for US foreign assistance, was funded at US$54.2 billion—US$11.9 billion more than requested by President Trump.
The bill also ensures strong Congressional oversight of the proposed reorganization of USAID, increases staffing in both USAID and State, and provides additional money for two critical management and operations funds at USAID. Finally, the bill strengthens the monitoring and evaluation functions at State and USAID and directs USAID to develop a domestic resource mobilization strategy that will help country partners fund their own development. The US development community has applauded both the funding levels and the other provisions which will strengthen the transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of US foreign assistance.