Global poverty-focused programs spared from severe cuts

Congress refrained from drastically cutting international poverty programs, allowing the United States to continue being a significant contributor to poverty alleviation around the world.

Story by Amanda Morgan. Edited by Shawna Templeton. Photo by Sopheak Kong.
Published January 12, 2012 at 12:00am PST

At the close of 2011, Congress responded to constituent pressure to protect funding for international poverty-focused programs and spared the accounts from major cuts.

Life-saving programs will continue to receive U.S. support

On December 23, 2011, the 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law. Funding for the International Affairs Budget was included in this act, ensuring that children and mothers around the world will continue to receive life-saving interventions, such as immunizations against childhood diseases, AIDS and malaria prevention care, and maternal care.

Funding levels also remained strong in global development areas such as agriculture and food security, basic education, clean water, and international disaster and refugee assistance.

Advocates influenced Congress

This funding — just less than 1 percent of our federal budget — faced threats of disproportionate cuts during the 2011 budget debates. However, advocates across the nation raised their voices when they learned of this threat to children, and urged decision-makers to continue these life-saving programs.

While there were some cuts, as would be expected in this tight fiscal environment, this budget was spared the drastic reductions that were threatened, and enjoyed even a slight increase in some areas.

“It’s heartening to see that our lawmakers realize the value of foreign aid,” says Robert Zachritz, World Vision’s senior director for advocacy and government relations. “The dollars we spend as a country translate directly into children’s lives saved, creating a safer, more stable world for everyone.”

What you can do

Thank God that Congress was responsive to the urging of Americans who care about global poverty, and that vulnerable children and families will still receive life-saving care through programs supported by the United States.

See how your senators and representatives voted. Consider taking a few minutes to call, write a personal note or email, or even drop into their district office this week to thank them for approving the measure. You can find their contact information on the vote pages by clicking on their names and visiting their websites.

Make a one-time gift to help provide life-saving food and care. Your donation will help provide emergency food, agricultural training, clean water, medicines, and other essential care to hungry children and families around the world.