Speak out for a Faithful Budget

Indigenous fishing community near Villamontes, in the Chaco region of Bolivia, where CWS works to strengthen sustainable livelihoods.
Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance

Contact your Senators and Representative, asking them to support the Senate’s FY 2013 funding levels for overseas relief and development programs.

Background

Congress is expected to agree on a 6-month extension of current funding levels (called a “Continuing Resolution,” or “CR”) to get through the election. Before that expires the Senate and the House will have to agree upon a final Fiscal Year 2013 funding levels, including funds for humanitarian and poverty-focused foreign assistance. The Senate has already voted on its preferred level of FY2013 spending for this assistance.

Before the CR expires next March, it is important that House agree to the higher Senate number. The Senate’s funding levels for poverty-focused foreign assistance allow for a strong response to global hunger and poverty.

Even though the issue will not be decided for a few months, it is important to talk to your Senators and Representative about this now, when they are listening most closely to their constituents.

FY 2013 funding levels also depend on what happens with the scheduled automatic across the board cuts required by the Budget Control Act, beginning in January 2013. If nothing changes, approximately 8 percent will be cut from every budget line item, including hunger and poverty programs. In November and December, Congress will debate action to prevent these automatic cuts by adopting alternative means for decreasing the federal deficit. It is vital that whatever Congress decides, it maintain adequate funding for U.S. domestic and international assistance to the poor and vulnerable.

Foreign Assistance saves lives! For less than 1 percent of the federal budget:

  • Last year international Food Aid programs reached more than 66 million people, including 5.2 million school children.
  • More than 1 million lives can be saved each year by funding programs that focus on adequate nutrition during the 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age 2.
  • Aid to small-scale farmers in poor countries is helping ensure food security for entire communities and preventing future famines.
  • The Senate’s modestly higher funding levels will enable 3.35 million more malnourished people could be treated using simple, low-cost measures including micronutrient powders, de-worming, and adequate iron and folic-acid for pregnant women, and 850,000 more people could receive cleaner, safer water and sanitation.

Faith reflection

Churches and faith-based agencies like Church World Service are engaged in extensive relief and development efforts, and we know the need and the suffering first hand. We are doing our part, but we can’t do it all. We need our country to continue to invest in poverty-focused development assistance. Responding to hunger and poverty is not a partisan issue. It is good for America, and it is a moral commitment that people of faith agree on across the political spectrum. Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, the U.S. has been a leader in responding to human need around the world. Millions of hungry people and those impacted by debilitating diseases are able to live productive lives because of our aid.

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