You Ask, We Answer: How Much Does the U.S. Spend on Foreign Aid

UPDATE: May 6, 2013. There is an updated version of this blog post. View it here.

When asked if they support cutting certain types of federal spending, many Americans say they'd like to see the U.S. reduce the amount of aid we give to foreign countries. So it's worth knowing: How much does our federal government currently spend on foreign aid?

Very little, as it turns out.


Foreign aid and diplomacy – which includes the State Department budget – together account for around 1 percent of all federal spending, or about $56 billion in President Obama's fiscal 2013 budget. That doesn't include foreign military assistance, which is the money we give other countries to train armies and acquire weapons. That type of assistance clocks in at an additional $14 billion.

President Obama's projection of $56 billion for international affairs represents a $7 billion increase over the amount spent in fiscal 2012. Meanwhile, Governor Romney has said that he hopes to cut all non-military discretionary spending by 5 percent upon entering office, a move that would reduce funding for foreign aid and diplomacy in fiscal 2013 by around $2.4 billion.