Cuts to U.S. foreign aid budget will be life-threatening to the world's poorest children in Horn of Africa and elsewhere
WASHINGTON, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the clock winds down on Capitol Hill's current budget battle and the August 2 deadline to extend the national debt limit looms, recent polls show that Americans remain divided on the issue of foreign aid. According to a Gallup poll from January, 59% of those polled supported cutting foreign aid.
"This is not a right-left issue. It's a right-wrong issue," said Robert Zachritz, World Vision's director for advocacy and government relations. "As the fiscal fight continues on Capitol Hill, children throughout the Horn of Africa are fighting for their lives. The budget deficit is a moral issue but so is providing life-saving aid to children. Cuts to the international affairs budget and disaster assistance accounts could literally mean the difference between life and death."
The International Affairs budget is just 1.4 percent of the total $3.8 trillion in the FY12 budget. In June, the House proposed cutting the federal budget for international food aid by $650 million (a 39% cut from the President's request and a 50% reduction from the average over the last 10 years for this account). Disproportionately cutting one of the smallest line items in the budget – a line item that is cost-effective and life-saving - is poor public policy.
If passed, that reduction will mean that nearly 1,625,000 people - roughly the entire population of Phoenix, Arizona - will be affected around the world. And these people are families like those in the Horn of Africa, families living on the margins of life and moving from one disaster to the next. For the price of a bed net, a vaccine, or a kilo of rice, this funding saves lives.
"The International Affairs budget should not be cut disproportionately to other accounts. These programs are cost-effective and save lives," said Zachritz. "The reality is that we will all have to make some sacrifices as the government tightens its belt. But if there are uneven cuts to the foreign aid budget, people will sacrifice more than a few dollars, they will lose their lives. During an emergency like the crisis in East Africa, cutting a front-lines famine program by 40 percent is bad public policy."
Ask your members of Congress to support the International Affairs budget and oppose major cuts to this account. There are few places in the U.S. federal budget where dollars translate so directly into lives saved. This account should not be subject to such imbalanced reductions. Send a message directly to Congress through World Vision's website today.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
SOURCE World Vision