The United States provided $28.3 million in foreign assistance and funding programs to China via USAID and the State Department in 2012, according to a May report from /www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22663.pdf> the Congressional Research Service. It projects that number to decrease slightly in 2013, to $25.5 million. Roughly half of the U.S. funding is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which focuses /www.usaid.gov/where-we-work/asia/china>on four main areas in China: environmental protection, rule of law, HIV/AIDS, and sustainable development for Tibetans. "I believe that our foreign aid to China furthers U.S. interests," said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who chairs the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommitttee of the Foreign Relations Committee, in a phone interview. But a USAID official, who asked to speak on background, took issue with calling the assistance to China "aid." "We are using some assistance to do technical cooperation in a few key areas, which are narrow and defined in scope," the official said. It's "directed" assistance, the official added, noting that these programs were not controversial.