Mercy Corps: Slashing Foreign Aid Is Reckless, Dangerous And Irresponsible

March 16, 2017

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Congress must reject proposed cuts to save tens of millions of lives

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress considers President Trump’s FY2018 budget request, the global organization Mercy Corps strongly urges lawmakers to reject cuts of approximately 30 percent to foreign assistance. If Congress reduces humanitarian funding to the President’s requested level, lifesaving assistance to tens of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people could end.

“Gutting the foreign assistance budget – especially humanitarian funding – is indefensible,” says Andrea Koppel, Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy at Mercy Corps. “We are facing the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, with 65 million people displaced and 20 million people at risk of starvation. Now would be the absolute worst time to cut foreign aid.”

Mercy Corps urges Congress to maintain current levels of foreign assistance funding in the FY2018 Appropriations bills. Additional emergency funding for 2017 is also needed to respond to worsening hunger crises in Africa and the Middle East. Recently, 110 people in Somalia starved to death in just 48 hours and across four countries more than one million children are at imminent risk of death without immediate nutrition support.

Proposed cuts also gut development programs that break long-term dependence on aid and support efforts to achieve peaceful resolutions to the conflicts driving historic displacement and humanitarian crisis. Today, 80 percent of humanitarian needs stem from violent conflict.

“Without U.S. foreign assistance, grievances and weak governance will persist, enabling violent extremists and other armed groups to thrive,” says Koppel. “Tackling the drivers of conflict is less expensive for the American taxpayer than emergency interventions. In addition to saving lives, we can save taxpayer dollars by targeting foreign aid to reduce violence before crises escalate and the U.S. spends billions of dollars on costly and prolonged military and humanitarian interventions.”

With support from partners including the United States Government, Mercy Corps helps people in more than 40 countries survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good. Join us and support our work.

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