NGOs welcome Senate leadership in international humanitarian funding

May 24, 2012, 17:04 ET from InterAction

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leading NGO alliance InterAction is heartened by the international affairs spending bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee today and urges the House to follow the Senate's lead when the two bills are reconciled. The Senate committee approved the bill with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 29-1.

"This bill shows the wisdom and courage to invest in international development and humanitarian assistance programs.  InterAction urges the House to adopt the Senate's funding levels when the final bill is negotiated," said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction.

The committee released a summary of the bill on Wednesday, and the full text of the bill is expected to be released in the coming days.

"InterAction applauds the extraordinary leadership and vision of Senators Leahy, Graham, Inouye and Cochran, which was reflected in the bill approved today.  When U.S. support helps a child get vaccinated or go to school; helps a community construct a well or be better prepared for a disaster, this fulfills our moral imperative to offer a hand up to those less fortunate than us around the world.  This support helps create more self-sufficient communities in the future," added Worthington, "when young democracies are nourished and citizens are empowered to hold their leaders to account, America and the world benefit."

The Senate FY2013 State, Foreign Operations appropriations bill provides for $52.1 billion in discretionary spending for the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other international development and humanitarian assistance programs, $1.2 billion less than was provided for the current fiscal year and $2.6 billion less than the administration request. The House version of the bill provides $48.4 billion, about $5 billion less than the current year, $6.3 billion less than the request and $3.8 billion less than the Senate bill.

Key accounts in the Senate bill include:

$2.9 billion for USAID's global health programs (House level: $2.5 billion)
$3.1 billion for Development Assistance (House level: $2.5 billion)
$1.3 billion for International Disaster Assistance (House level: $923 million)
$2.3 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance (House level: $1.7 billion)

SOURCE InterAction