Community members in Mwingi in eastern Kenya assist with the emergency food distribution. Photo: Amelia Vogler
Contact your Senators and Representative, asking them to support the Senate’s FY 2013 funding levels for overseas relief and development programs. Even if you have written to Congress about this previously, now is the time to write them again!
In September Congress passed a “continuing resolution” to fund foreign assistance for fiscal year 2013 at the 2012 level through this March. By March 27, Congress will have to make a final decision about new funding.
Senate appropriators had voted $53.7 billion for the International Affairs budget (of which humanitarian and poverty-focused foreign assistance is a portion). House appropriators voted only $49.6. But no final bill was passed. Word is that House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a number close to the Senate’s figure.
But with the final decisions still up in the air, members of Congress need to hear from their constituents in support of the Senate amount.
In addition, across-the-board automatic spending cuts (called “sequestration”), now postponed until March 1, would cut more than 8 percent from every government spending account, including foreign assistance. While Congress is expected to find a way to avoid these automatic cuts, they may do that by trying to make deep reductions in programs for poor and vulnerable people, including overseas relief and development programs. It is vital that whatever Congress and the President decide to do, that robust funding remain 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:
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. Millions of hungry people and those impacted by debilitating diseases are able to live productive lives because of U.S. aid.
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