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The Federal Budget and Foreign Aid

Question: How much money does the United States spend on foreign aid each year?

Answer: U.S. foreign aid has comprised about 1 percent of the federal budget each year since the 1970's. 

Here is an excerpt from a 2011 Washington Post article on foreign aid and the budget:

"In poll after poll, Americans overwhelmingly say they believe that foreign aid makes up a larger portion of the federal budget than defense spending, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, or spending on roads and other infrastructure. In a November World Public Opinion poll, the average American believed that a whopping 25 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. The average respondent also thought that the appropriate level of foreign aid would be about 10 percent of the budget — 10 times the current level.

Compared with our military and entitlement budgets, this is loose change. Since the 1970s, aid spending has hovered around 1 percent of the federal budget. International assistance programs were close to 5 percent of the budget under Lyndon B. Johnson during the war in Vietnam, but have dropped since."