Investing in an ounce of prevention

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Right now, Congress is working on a budget that will fund U.S. foreign assistance for the next federal fiscal year. While development and humanitarian assistance make up much less than 1% of the federal budget, the President’s budget request slashed funding for programs that fight global poverty and help prevent humanitarian crises by over 40%. The Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives has mostly rejected the President’s budget, including protecting immediate lifesaving aid, but unfortunately, cut funding to key accounts that build communities’ resilience to conflict, food insecurity and poverty. There is still time to protect investments in global development by urging your Members of Congress to support anti-poverty accounts in the FY18 appropriations process.

Today, over 65 million people are displaced and 20 million are at risk of starvation in four countries alone. Humanitarian needs are great, but we should not forgo development assistance. Poverty-focused accounts like Development Assistance and the Economic Support Fund are small investments in our future with great returns and help give families around the world a hand up out of poverty. Cuts to these accounts will mean that girls won’t have access to education, farmers won’t have access to improved technologies to improve their yields and families around the world won’t have access to safe and clean water.

You can help – demand that Congress stand up for development assistance within the foreign assistance budget. Congress must continue to fund the aid budget at last year’s funding level, especially programs that provide communities with the tools they need to break cycles of poverty and conflict.

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My Message

Dear Member of Congress,

As a constituent, I am deeply concerned about the International Affairs Budget. While I am grateful that Congress pushed back against the Administration’s proposed deep and disproportionate cuts, I am concerned that cuts to this account will damage U.S. leadership abroad and hamstring our ability to lift the world’s most vulnerable out of poverty. I urge you to fight for no less than the FY 2017 levels for Economic Support Funds, Development Assistance and the Complex Crisis Fund in the FY 2018 SFOPS bill.

Programs in these accounts are long-term investments and can prevent more costly humanitarian interventions. For example, a Development Assistance-funded program in Ethiopia enabled families to be more resilient to the severe El Niño drought 2016, thereby reducing suffering and humanitarian need. With growing humanitarian need around the world driven by conflict, it has never been more important for the U.S. to invest in these critical development accounts that can reduce future need.

Despite these proven results, the House of Representatives chose to cut the Economic Support Fund by 20% and zeroed out the Complex Crisis Fund (CCF). Both accounts provide critical conflict prevention and mitigation programming in some of the most fragile states like Jordan, Iraq and the Central African Republic. Research has found that programs funded by these accounts can decrease violence and create a more stable world.

I urge you to fight for no less than $4.32 billion for ESF, $3.3 billion for Development Assistance and $30 million for CCF in the FY 2018 State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs appropriations bill, as well as during conference with the House. This will ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader and is able to help communities be more resilient to shocks and stresses, and lift themselves out of poverty.

I look forward to hearing from you about how you will work to protect the world’s most vulnerable during the FY18 appropriations process. Thank you!

Sincerely,

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