WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WaterAid in America expresses both support and concern for President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget request released yesterday, which maintains support for some key foreign aid accounts. However, the request also reduces allocations to areas that are critical for the success of water, sanitation and hygiene programs.
"We commend the White House for preserving its focus on the essential programs undertaken by USAID and the Department of State, which, all told, require less than 1% of the total federal budget. These agencies are essential to US moral leadership, diplomacy, and national security," said David Winder, CEO of WaterAid in America.
"The requested increase to development assistance is essential for enabling USAID to enhance its work on food security and nutrition, which depends upon safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, and effective and sustainable use of water resources for its success," noted Lisa Schechtman, Head of Policy and Advocacy for WaterAid in America.
"By increasing the requested contribution to development assistance in Africa, the Administration has taken steps toward needed improvements in pro-poor targeting of resources for water, sanitation and hygiene. However, these increases cannot be done at the expense of disaster response, global health and other areas of foreign aid," Schechtman added.
Water is an issue that many in Congress are discussing of late, Democrats and Republicans. Just last week, Congressman Howard L. Berman from California, the Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee underlined the importance of access to water in a press statement calling for Congress to pass bipartisan legislation known as the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2012.
"As Congress takes up the President's Fiscal Year 2013 budget request, we urge them to protect the President's request for USAID and the State Department and pass the Water for the World Act, which will make existing investments go farther," Schechtman said. WaterAid has added its voice to an open letter urging Congress to act with more than 50 leading organizations calling for support from both the House and Senate versions of the legislation. http://www.wateraidamerica.org/hr3658 and http://www.wateraidamerica.org/s641.
WaterAid transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene, and sanitation in the world's poorest communities. www.wateraidamerica.org