The U.S. budget contains scores of carve outs for specific programs, activities, and priorities. But all those individual projects are organized into broader buckets. Specifically, the federal budget is divided into 20 categories called budget functions, although it might be easier to think about them as accounts.
Each account (or function) has all the spending for a given topic, independent of which federal agency oversees the specific federal programs that will ultimately receive the money.
Function 150 is the international affairs account which includes money allocated for aid for developing nations, and consequently where a significant amount of global poverty and hunger funding falls. It’s a very diverse funding bucket. The account also includes money for operation of U.S. consulates and embassies; military assistance for our allies; economic assistance to be disbursed to new democracies; promotion of U.S. exports; payments to international organizations; and international peacekeeping efforts.
Function 150 primarily provides funding for the Departments of State, Agriculture, and Treasury, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Funding in this account constitutes about 1 percent of the entire federal budget.
The budget process for fiscal year 2014 is far from over, in fact it’s barely started. Quite a bit needs to happen before we will know what the actual funding levels for programs are for the next fiscal year. The State Department requested approximately a total of $52 billion for the Function 150 Account in FY 2014 to fund everything from aid to developing countries to U.S. consulates and international peacekeeping missions, according to agency budget documents.
– Liza Casabona