Today, President Obama released his budget request for fiscal year 2016 and the Congressional Budget Justifications for each agency. His request for the international affairs budget totals $54.8 billion, a very slight increase over last year’s request—this figure includes funding for all the diplomatic and development operations of the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The Congressional Budget Justification for the State Department directs the department to allocate funding for gender across sectors, and includes (as in prior years) specific funding requests for women’s leadership ($50 million) and efforts to combat gender-based violence ($150 million), as well as funding from the Development Assistance account that will be used for gender integration cross sectors.
These figures are not the only numbers important to women and girls globally that the budget represents. Later this month, we will have better information on how gender-specific funding and other key budget areas fare when the Administration releases more detailed information about the specifics in the President’s budget request.
Stay tuned for those figures. Women Thrive will do a comprehensive analysis of gender in the President’s budget request at that time.
It’s important to note that the President’s budget request is just that – a request. The document serves as a key measure of the President’s priorities—and it’s great that international affairs has received a boost—but Congress is ultimately responsible for passing a budget and appropriating funding to specific areas—like gender. This is where we have the opportunity to engage as constituents and voice our support for gender-focused funding in the federal budget.