THE DAILY FED
Clinton: Boost Foreign BudgetPresident Clinton will ask Congress to increase the foreign affairs budget by $1.2 billion over this year's budget of $18.1 billion, The Washington Post reported today. The president will also seek an additional $1 billion to pay off the United States' debt to the United Nations.
Administration officials say that cuts to foreign affairs spending, which is designated in the budget as the "150 account," would hamper U.S. diplomacy and threaten the nation's standing in the world community. Their fiscal 1998 proposal, including the U.N. money, would increase the 150 account by 12 percent to more than $20 billion.
A report released yesterday by the Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations argues that even that amount is insufficient. The report, endorsed by numerous experts, including three former Secretaries of State, argues that the 150 account should be increased to $21 billion for fiscal 1998.
The U.N. funds will be used to leverage reform in the international body. $100 million would be paid this year. If new U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan succeeeds in reforming the management of the organization, the other $900 million would be released.