Leading Humanitarian, Development, and Global Health Organizations Urge Congress to Reject Cuts to Foreign Assistance

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Brian P. Duss
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bduss@worldvision.org
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Highlights

  • Proposed budget would cut the international affairs budget by 24 percent
  • More than 132 million people are projected to need humanitarian assistance in 2019
Millions of people in East Africa are experiencing chronic hunger and the threat of famine. Conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices are to blame. In a recent development, more than 800,000 people have fled their homes due to violence in south Ethiopia since the beginning of 2018. They are in desperate need of assistance.
World Vision distributes food in Turkana, Kenya, during the East Africa hunger and food crisis. There has been very little rain in Turkana, with drought cycles becoming more and more frequent. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

March 11, 2019 (Washington, DC) ––World Vision, along with humanitarian, development, and global health organizations Bread for the World, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, InterAction, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, ONE, Oxfam, PATH, and Save the Children, are calling on Members of Congress to protect the International Affairs budget in Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) despite the Administration’s proposed 24 percent cuts. American leadership is critical in the face of daunting global challenges, from conflict to mass displacement, from food insecurity to global health crises.

More than 132 million people are projected to need humanitarian assistance in 2019 given an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises. Natural disasters, atrocities, gender-based violence, and protracted armed conflict have resulted in more than 68 million displaced persons, including more than 25 million refugees. Now is not the time to slash effective, life-saving programs that help create a safer and more secure world.

In addition, the Administration’s proposal to significantly modify and repeal the refugee mandate and resources of the Department of State’s humanitarian bureau, coupled with a 34 percent cut to humanitarian assistance, is unwise, especially given historic levels of displacement.

Foreign assistance funding is fundamental to America’s global leadership and essential to shaping a world where our national interests will thrive. The International Affairs budget is roughly 1% of the federal budget, and an even smaller portion is dedicated to achieving humanitarian, development, and health outcomes for the world’s most marginalized children, women and men. This small portion of our budget is molding the face of our world’s future and building a better and more stable world with prospering economies. Cuts will have life-and-death consequences for the poorest people in the world and will reduce the life-saving and economic impacts that we see every day.

The organizations, which together operate in nearly every country across the globe, often work in partnership with the U.S. government and have produced important and demonstrable results. From providing education, health, good governance and economic assistance that forms the building blocks of many growing nations, to addressing humanitarian disasters, preventing conflict and containing deadly pandemics – aid delivers.   The budget’s proposed cuts of 23 percent to development assistance and economic assistance and 28 percent to global health flies in the face of these facts.

Time and time again, Congress has acted in a bipartisan and bicameral manner to support smart American global engagement through programs, budgets and policies that demonstrate American values while advancing our national interest. Leading humanitarian, development, and global health organizations urge Congress to support no less than $60 billion for the International Affairs Budget in FY20.

To ensure U.S. leadership, Congress must reject any proposed cuts to these vital programs and fight against removing crucial tools from our foreign policy toolkit when they are needed more than ever.

 

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.