Our alliance has acted collectively in multiple ways and at various times over the past few weeks in response to the Administration’s announcement to put a hold on congressionally approved foreign aid funds as a first step towards a possible rescission of funds.
On August 22, 2019, it was reported that the White House, ” scrapped plans to seek the return to the Treasury of up to $4 billion in unspent foreign aid amid intense pressure from Capitol Hill, according to a senior administration official and others familiar with the decision.”
In response, Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction released a statement saying,
“Today, we received the excellent news that OMB’s rescission attempt to cut foreign aid is over.
“Foreign aid will continue to deliver. Data tells us that America’s small investment has worked. Global poverty is at an all-time low, hunger has been cut in half, and safe water is increasingly available.
“InterAction would like to thank House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders for their bipartisan support for U.S. foreign assistance and thank you to our members for ensuring that America continues to help transform lives around the world. ”
Read the statement HERE.
On August 19, 2019, 90+ NGOs signed a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to take immediate action to end the administration’s repeated threats and use of rescissions under the Impoundment Control Act to cut foreign aid funds approved by bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate and signed into law by the President.
“By impounding or canceling congressionally approved foreign assistance that the President signed into law, the administration not only subverts Congress’ constitutionally-mandated role but also reduces the effectiveness of life-saving programs and undermines America’s global leadership.
“We ask Congress to take swift bipartisan action and reject any rescission proposal. Bipartisan support for foreign assistance has been an enduring feature of U.S. foreign policy for decades. Furthermore, we urge Congress to ensure that rescission threats and proposals are no longer used as a tool to hinder and defund U.S. foreign assistance and undermine congressional intent. This will reassert Congress’ power of the purse and halt actions that impact the lives of millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world.”
Read the letter HERE.
In the evening of August 9, 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced they had lifted the freeze on funds appropriated for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The notice from the OMB came after a flood of bi-partisan congressional criticism bolstered by a loud collective voice of opposition from InterAction members regarding the funding freeze and potential rescission of funds.
InterAction would like to thank House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders for their support and bipartisan call for foreign aid funding to be unfrozen. Their support for foreign assistance is transforming lives around the world and continues to ensure American global leadership.
Since 2017 lawmakers from both parties in Congress have soundly rejected slashes to foreign aid funding.
On August 8, 2019, over 90 NGOs released a joint statement against any rescissions within the foreign assistance budget.
“The Administration’s repeated attempts to rescind U.S. foreign assistance programs leads to instability in U.S. assistance efforts and puts lives at risk at a time of global crisis. This must stop.”
“Attempting to cancel life-saving and life-improving funds that have already been appropriated by Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support is dangerous and unparalleled. The cancellation of funds would imperil strategic investments and put countless programs at risk for sudden closure, further endangering some of the world’s most vulnerable people and reversing progress. These proposed cancelations threaten America’s leadership and standing in the world.”
“The current freezing of funds is the first step to roll back funding for vital programs that provide direct support for health, education, protection, food security, democracy, human rights, and disaster relief while also building the capacity of countries to meet their own needs.”
You can read the full statement HERE.
On August 7, 2019, Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction stated,
“It is both disappointing and saddening that President Trump consistently undermines the decisions that our elected representatives in Congress have made to support foreign assistance. Data tells us that the small fraction of America’s budget that goes to foreign aid yields big results. The White House’s repeated political ploys to halt aid threatens the effectiveness of U.S. assistance and puts America’s global leadership at risk.”
You can read his full statement HERE.
Reactions from Members of Congress
- On August 9, 2019, leading Republicans and Democrats released a statement urging the Administration not to cancel funding for diplomacy and development.
- On August 16, 2019, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) and Representative Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky) released a letter sent to President Trump expressing their concerns about proposed cuts to USAID funding.
- On August 16, 2019, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, urging the Administration not to submit a new rescission package.
????Congressional Foreign Policy Leaders Urge Administration Not to Cancel Funding for Diplomacy & Development⬇️@RepMcCaul, @RepEliotEngel, @SenatorRisch & @SenatorMenendez: Law requires funding to be spent as Congress intended
— House Foreign Affairs GOP (@HouseForeignGOP) August 9, 2019
Along with the @HouseForeign & @SenateForeign Chairmen & Ranking Members, nearly 100 @InterActionOrg member organizations spoke out against this Administration’s attempt to rescind U.S. foreign assistance.https://t.co/6fzulbGOZp
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) August 9, 2019
Top foreign policy leaders-@RepEliotEngel, @RepMcCaul, @SenatorRisch & @SenatorMenendez-called on the Administration to reverse its reported plan to cancel more than $4 billion dollars in funding for American diplomacy and development efforts. pic.twitter.com/uSNlk6cKNb
— House Foreign Affairs Committee (@HouseForeign) August 9, 2019
This foreign aid was appropriated by bipartisan majorities after lengthy negotiations.
President Trump signed into law the legislation that includes these funds, which are essential to the security of the American people.
— Nita Lowey (@NitaLowey) August 8, 2019
Cutting foreign aid isn’t just a bad idea, it’s a dangerous one.
Our foreign aid isn’t charity, it advances U.S. interests and makes the world – and the United States – safer. https://t.co/7KaCUIvn3k
— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) August 7, 2019
This Administration’s contempt for Congress is astounding.
When Congress decides how much we spend on foreign assistance, it isn’t a suggestion. It’s the law, backed up by the constitution. https://t.co/VSYrIGhny4
— Eliot Engel (@RepEliotEngel) August 7, 2019
America’s defense budget is more bloated than ever, but our national security cannot rely on a strong military alone. So why in the world is @realDonaldTrump trying to block billions in the @StateDept’s diplomacy, development & global health funds? https://t.co/dDDteN8u47
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) August 7, 2019
Reactions From our Members and Leading Voices
- CARE Global Leaders Network urges Secretary Pompeo to oppose cutting foreign aid
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee Chairman of International Justice and Peace and the CEO of Catholic Relief Services respond to Administration’s call for rescissions
- CARE’s call to action
- Oxfam criticizes Administration’s freeze on foreign aid
- One: Tell Congress to reject Trump’s cuts to foreign aid!
- Mercy Corps releases petition urging Congress to stop aid cuts
- Project HOPE calls for continued foreign aid amidst global crises
- Letter to the Honorable Michael Popeo from the Interfaith Working Group on Foreign Assistance
We’ve joined 90+ NGOs in calling on Congressional leadership to take immediate and permanent action to end the Trump administration’s repeated threats and use of rescissions to cut #foreignaid.
— Oxfam America (@OxfamAmerica) August 21, 2019
We express profound concern over the Administration’s attempt to rescind up to $4 billion in critical foreign aid.
US leadership & foreign investment is instrumental and we strongly encourage leadership in House, Senate and Foreign Assistance Committee to reject this proposal. https://t.co/y9kpLTEPUu
— AllforPeacebuilding (@AfPeacebuilding) August 6, 2019
AJWS stands in opposition to any attempts by the Administration to cut the bipartisan foreign assistance budget. Funding for programs, including global health and through the United Nations, are critical for #HumanRights. https://t.co/Vjmll2FAQU
— American Jewish World Service (AJWS) (@ajws) August 6, 2019
Any rollback of funding would undermine US moral, economic and security interests. Foreign aid is a small percent of the budget, but does a world of good. Congress must protect these programs. https://t.co/vN8tMEGSQH
— ONE in America (@ONEinAmerica) August 6, 2019
Diverting lifesaving funds that have already been appropriated by Congress would be dangerous and unprecedented. This will put countless lifesaving programs at risk for sudden closure and endanger some of the world’s most vulnerable people. pic.twitter.com/bagLgOSQZk
— David Ray (@DavidRayCARE) August 6, 2019
The Trump Administration is once again proposing devastating cuts to foreign assistance. Thank you to leaders like @NitaLowey who are standing up and speaking out against this issue.
— Mercy Corps (@mercycorps) August 11, 2019
.@USCCB & @CatholicRelief respond to the Administration’s call for rescissions of $2-4 billion of funds for #ForeignAid and diplomacy. Read the full press release, including a letter by Archbishop Broglio & CRS Chairman Bishop Mansour to @SecPompeo. https://t.co/MNc0BRACCd
— CRS News (@CRSnews) August 16, 2019