InterAction Statement in Response to President Trump's FY18 Budget Proposal

Photo By: Tim Evanson

Eighty-two member organizations join statement calling upon Congress to sustain and protect the International Affairs budget in FY2018

WASHINGTON - We are deeply concerned with the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) International Affairs budget request, which proposes dramatic cuts to life-saving accounts.  The budget decisions currently before Congress have life-and-death consequences for the world’s poorest people. If the President’s Budget is enacted, it will reduce the life-saving and transformative economic impacts that we see every day. InterAction calls on Congress to sustain its leadership and support for a robust foreign assistance, as demonstrated earlier this month through passage of H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17). A total of no less than $60 billion for the International Affairs Budget in FY18 must be supported.

Congressional support for international development and humanitarian assistance in FY17 was strong and the United States cannot back away from them in FY18 without doing irreparable damage. Global humanitarian needs cannot be ignored with 128 million people in need of humanitarian assistance worldwide, including 30 million people living in danger of famine conditions, and 65 million people who have been forcibly displaced.  Just this month, another outbreak of Ebola has occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and natural disasters are subject to occur without warning. At the same time, we have evidence of real progress -- U.S. assistance has enabled more children to survive into adulthood, nearly eradicated polio, and halved global poverty since 1990.  These crises and challenges cannot be fully resolved in the course of one budget cycle. Nor can we expect other nations to fill the funding gap that would be created in the absence of U.S. leadership.

U.S. Foreign Assistance comprises just 1% of the federal budget, and even a smaller portion is dedicated to achieving humanitarian, development, and health outcomes for the world’s most marginalized children, women, and men. This funding is leveraged alongside the $15.4 billion in international development funding from private and voluntary organizations in the United States. It is the complementarity of these funding sources that allow InterAction member organizations to operate in nearly every developing country in the world, and has produced dramatic and demonstrable results, such as bringing some of the world’s most deadly diseases to the verge of eradication.

Congress has regularly acted in a bipartisan and bicameral manner to support smart American global engagement through foreign assistance programs and reforms such as the recently enacted Global Food Security Act and Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act. Robust budgets, policies, and reforms that support foreign assistance are a demonstration of American values and advance U.S. national interests.  Now, more than ever, we urge Congress to continue its leadership, to reject draconian cuts to vital, life-saving programs, and to reaffirm our investment in foreign assistance through providing no less than $60 billion for the FY18 International Affairs Budget.

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