Why is the International Affairs Budget so important?
Just hearing the word “budget” puts some people to sleep. But a seemingly insignificant part of the U.S. federal budget makes a world of difference to millions of children and families around the world: the International Affairs Budget.
By Robert Zachritz and Shawna Templeton, World Vision U.S.
Did you know that the International Affairs Budget makes up just a little more than 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget?
This 1 percent funds humanitarian, economic, and diplomatic initiatives — from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to U.S. State Department activities to many other international efforts that promote global stability and poverty reduction.
There are few parts of the U.S. federal budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved. Just a few of the challenges addressed through this budget include:
Human and religious rights protection
The goodwill of Americans
There are several reasons to keep this part of our federal budget strong.
First and foremost, the International Affairs Budget represents the goodwill of the American people. Americans are generous, and this budget allows us to tangibly contribute a portion of our tax dollars to programs that help sustain the lives of millions. It reflects the giving nature of our Christian values and our gratefulness for the blessings we have received as a nation.
Under President Bush, both PEPFAR and the Millennium Challenge Corporation were established — programs that demonstrate America’s proud history of bringing hope to millions of people who live under oppressive poverty, face starvation, and battle HIV and AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. The federal funds are leveraged further as they’re put to work alongside contributions from private individuals, churches, and nonprofit organizations.
Last year, through the International Affairs Budget:
Some 4 million children orphaned or left vulnerable by AIDS received support.
Some 2.5 million people received AIDS treatment.
An estimated 15 million malaria bed nets were distributed.
These programs help foster a healthier, more peaceful world; countless lives are saved for a very low cost.
Protecting our national and economic security
The International Affairs Budget is also critical to ensuring our national security by protecting against international threats from unstable and fragile states. Increasing food security, decreasing AIDS rates, and generally contributing to the well-being of people around the world creates stability. And stability promotes national security. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Admiral Michael Mullen, and many other military leaders across the political spectrum have called for increasing the International Affairs Budget as an essential component of our national security.
Lastly, the International Affairs Budget is a fundamental tool for advancing U.S. economic and strategic interests around the world. Programs in this budget build markets for U.S. exports and promote good governance practices that strengthen democracies.
While national and economic security should not be the primary motivating factors for supporting this budget, it is another benefit that comes from this kind of engagement in the world.
Lives are at stake
For just 1 percent of its budget, America can and does contribute to the well-being of millions of children and families in poverty. It’s crucial that this small but significant part of our federal budget continue to receive the support of the American public.
Tell your members of Congress that you value the critical programs funded by this budget. We must uphold our promises to fully fund assistance for the world’s most vulnerable people — even when times are tough in our own country. It’s the American thing to do.
More importantly, it’s what God says his people will do: “The righteous care about justice for the poor…” (Prov. 29:7). Your support of this budget and urging Congress in continuing to fund it is one important way you can be an advocate for biblical justice for children and families struggling to survive worldwide.
>> Learn more about how the U.S. can help battle extreme global poverty and disease.
Three things you can do
>> Pray that our legislators would make wise decisions that help bring relief to those suffering from extreme poverty and disease.
>> Contact your members of CongressAsk them to support the president's FY 2011 budget request for the International Affairs Budget. There are few places in the U.S. federal budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved.
>> Donate. Join World Vision in the fight against extreme global poverty and disease. Give a gift to provide life-saving food, water, medical care, and more to children and families.
Learn more about how the U.S. can help battle extreme global poverty and disease.
Three things you can do
Pray that our legislators would make wise decisions that help bring relief to those suffering from extreme poverty and disease.
Contact your members of CongressAsk them to support the president's FY 2011 budget request for the International Affairs Budget. There are few places in the U.S. federal budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved.
Donate. Join World Vision in the fight against extreme global poverty and disease. Give a gift to provide life-saving food, water, medical care, and more to children and families.