What does the United States do with its money?
Each year, the budgeting process starts when the President submits a request to Congress, asking for funding for all federal executive departments and independent agencies. In the coming weeks, the budget will be debated in the House and the Senate.
The President's 2016 budget request to Congress signals that the U.S. must continue to work with other countries to promote our priorities in global security and global health – and the 2016 budget makes it clear that the United Nations will be a particularly important part of this process.
It is crucial that legislators see that American citizens support the planned funding for the United Nations. To make sure the President’s 2016 budget passes Congress, now is the time to contact your Senators and Representatives.
Specifically, the President’s budget provides the following funds to advance global peace and security:
- Fully supports UN Peacekeeping: Requests $2.93 billion for the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account, which would enable the U.S. to fully fund our peacekeeping dues for 2016.
- Plans for potential crisis: Similar to last year’s request, the 2016 proposal calls for $150 million to fund unanticipated new or expanded UN or non-UN peacekeeping needs. The Peace Operations Response Mechanism (PORM) would allow the U.S. to join other nations in responding to urgent global crisis.
- Fully funds the UN regular budget: The $1.54 billion allocated for the Contributions to International Organizations (CIO) Account would cover the U.S. share of political missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the UN’s emergency Ebola mission, as well as our role in the vital work of UN agencies like the World Health Organization and the IAEA.
- Allows for rapid response in Africa: For the first time, the President has called for $110 million in funding for an African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership. This is a smart idea to support rapid peacekeeping capabilities in certain countries, as deploying forces quickly in country is critical to eventual peace, stability, and reconciliation.
- Continues the UN’s vital humanitarian work: Through contributions to the International Organizations & Programs (IO&P) Account, the budget provides voluntary funding to agencies like the UN children’s fund (UNICEF), which is allocated $132 million.
The budget also focuses on U.S. global health priorities. Specific figures on the global health budget include:
- Prioritizing vaccines for children: The budget calls for $168 million towards continuing a commitment to global polio eradication, and $49 million to address the spread of measles and other disease. It also works to provide children access to life-saving vaccines by proposing $235 million for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
- Maintaining a commitment to women and children’s health: Provides $575 million for voluntary family planning programs, including $35 million for the UN Population fund (UNFPA). In addition, the budget outlines $770 million for child and maternal health programs — an increase of $55 million from 2015.
- Committing to stopping the spread of Malaria: $674 million is requested for the President’s Malaria Initiative.
- Continuing the fight against AIDS: Recommends $1.1 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. While this is a reduction from previous years, it does represent the President’s continued commitment to providing $1 million for every $2 million invested in the Global Fund, keeping the U.S. as the leading contributor to the global fight to end these three diseases.
"President Obama's 2016 budget proposal wisely invests in the United Nations and our other multilateral partnerships, advancing foreign policy objectives for a healthier and safer world — one in which the U.S. does not have to go it alone,” said Peter Yeo, president of the United Nations Foundation’s Better World Campaign.
So, where do you come in?
Your support is crucial to making sure that President Obama’s budget proposal makes it through Congress. By contacting your representatives with this information, you’ll be taking direct action to help the UN accomplish its goals. There are three effective ways you can get in touch with your Senators and Representative:
Don’t forget to tell us how it went! After you talk with your elected leaders, report back so we can tell your story.