Help save the aid that saves lives
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It’s simple. A tiny fraction of our nation’s budget – just 1% -- saves millions of lives and does a world of good. It pays for childhood vaccines, access to clean water, food and shelter for refugees, and skilled response to disasters in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The Administration’s proposed cuts would mean devastation. At a time when 65 million people are displaced, famine is declared in South Sudan, and three other countries are on the brink, foreign aid is needed more than ever.
Foreign aid is a small part of the federal budget that pays big dividends. It provides nearly 11.5 million people in impoverished countries with lifesaving HIV treatment. During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, this aid helped millions and prevented the deadly virus from spreading further. And it helps keep America safe by addressing the poverty and chaos that are the breeding grounds for terrorism.
As Catholics, we are called to protect the life and dignity of those most in need. Helping people reflects our Catholic and American values. Morally, it’s the right thing to do. We must speak out and shape our government’s responses to foster the common good of all. Sign our petition now.
I am writing to you today to urge you to protect international assistance in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. At a time of both increased need in the world and genuine progress against poverty, cuts to the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development would have devastating and long-lasting effects, both around the world and here in the United States.
The administration’s proposed cuts come at a time when more people have been forced from their homes by war and poverty than ever before. Some 65 million people, including nearly 5 million Syrian refugees, are displaced. The people of South Sudan are suffering from a famine, and three other countries are on the brink: Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria. Now is not the time to cut back on United States leadership in humanitarian response. We must continue to lead the world in signaling that it’s important to care for those most in need even in times of fiscal austerity. It would be impossible to balance the budget by cutting 1% of the federal budget, the amount that makes up international assistance. Programs such as these also help to keep weak countries stable, and that’s an ounce of prevention from a national security perspective.
Longer-term investments in education, agricultural sustainability, good governance, and stronger health systems can help to reduce the need for costlier humanitarian interventions. Thanks in part to international assistance, the mortality rate for children under five has plummeted from 35,000 deaths per day in 1990 to under 17,000 today. This is just one example of the impact that international assistance can have. And of course, by managing health threats overseas, such as Ebola and Zika, we help to keep Americans safe.
Not only does international assistance help people who are in need overseas, but also, it facilitates international business which keeps Americans employed. U.S. international assistance helps to create an environment for business investment, including promoting good governance, preventing conflict, and promoting the rule of law. In fact, 11 of our top export markets today are former recipients of U.S. international assistance.
I take seriously our Biblical mandate in Matthew 25. Catholic Relief Services leverages their private contributions to partner with the Department of State and USAID to save lives, lift people out of poverty, educate the leaders of tomorrow, and to show the world that America cares.
Thank you for your attention to and consideration of this urgent matter.
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