Lawmakers vote to protect investments for lifesaving humanitarian and development assistance programs
Rejecting a proposed 30 percent reduction to foreign aid, the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 7 approved a $51 billion spending bill for the State Department and USAID, as well as robust funding levels for international assistance.
“At a time of immense global suffering around the world, the Senate’s recommendation for foreign assistance funding is commendable and tremendously needed,” says Ann Vaughan, Senior Director, Policy & Advocacy at Mercy Corps. “We look forward to working with the House and Senate to support the highest level of funding possible in the final FY 2018 bill, and urge the House to follow the Senate’s leadership to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance can meet the immense needs around the world.”
The Senate bill demonstrates a strong commitment to U.S. humanitarian response overseas by providing a total of $6.24 billion for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. It also addresses root causes of crisis and development challenges by funding the Complex Crises Fund at $30 million and Development Assistance (DA) at $2.89 billion.
Critically, the DA Account includes funding for the Community Development Fund, which allows for creative and cost-effective solutions to fight hunger in vulnerable communities. Unfortunately, Economic Support Funds – a critical account that supports fragile states – was cut in both the House and Senate versions of the bill by 27 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
“These accounts and the programs they fund are critical to ending the cycle of conflict that drives so much of today’s displacement,” says Vaughan. “ At a time when 65 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced from their homes – mostly due to conflict – and 20 million people are at risk of starvation due to potential famine across just four countries, this funding will enable the United States to alleviate suffering worldwide.”
With support from partners including the United States government, Mercy Corps helps nearly 22 million people in more than 40 countries survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good.NRSenate 8Sept2017.pdf