Democracy, Rights, and Governance

$2.3 billion*

Minimum Requirement for American Leadership

Democracy, Rights, and Governance (DRG) programming supports civil society, credible and responsive institutions, and the pursuit of freedom, dignity, economic prosperity, and security.

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Justification for Funding

  • Democracy assistance is a cost-effective investment in U.S. foreign policy goals. Stable democracies make for better trading partners, provide new market opportunities for U.S. businesses, improve global health outcomes, and advance economic freedom and regional security. Unaccountable governments give rise to corruption and squander assistance dollars. In this interconnected world, what happens inside countries transcends borders and regions, especially when it comes to terrorism, disease, and the flow of refugees. Democracy assistance helps protect our national security and reduce the likelihood of costly U.S. military engagement.
  • The U.S. Government works with non-profit partners to implement DRG assistance. This programming expands space for a vibrant civil society and independent media; strengthens political and government institutions to be responsive to citizens’ needs; promotes transparency and accountability; cultivates the rule of law; fosters equitable economic growth; promotes tolerance and inclusiveness; protects human and labor rights; and supports credible elections.

Cost of Cuts Below $2.3 Billion

President and Congress Budget Comparison

       Congressional Budget   

       President's Budget Request (Base + OCO)


$2.3 billion

Opportunity to Catalyze American Leadership


Justification for Full Funding

73 years
In 2017, Liberia held elections that paved the way for the first peaceful transfer of power in 73 years. U.S. support provided support for civic engagement, election infrastructure, and the neutral observation of polling stations.

  • DRG assistance is a critical investment in a more stable, prosperous world. Like-minded governments assist each other in regional and international arenas, support each other militarily when interests align, protect citizens and trade, and respond together in times of disaster and instability.
  • Good governance provides stability that enhances investment climates, eases the movements of goods and ideas, promotes economic opportunities, and enriches the wellbeing of citizens. In the long-term, countries that strengthen democracy experience more positive economic reforms, a reduction in social conflict, an increase in private investment, and more opportunities for women, youth, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups. At a time when export opportunities represent such critical growth potential for the U.S. economy and domestic job creation, it is essential for the U.S. to be working to create and strengthen competitive markets throughout the world for American businesses and their products.
  • Political landscapes are often fluid and require long-term strategies for sustainable solutions. Continued commitment is necessary to build upon initial investment. DRG promotes American values and supports efforts to achieve economic and political self-determination, and realize individual rights.
  • An overwhelming number of Americans feel that the U.S. should participate in efforts to maintain peace, protect human rights, and promote economic development. A small financial investment in DRG yields invaluable returns in the form of a more stable and prosperous world.

*Enacted FY18 Omnibus Appropriation

For more information, please contact: Brian Wanko,

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