Media CenterCRS Lauds Congress’ Rejection of Administration’s Proposed Cuts to Foreign Aid
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
WASHINGTON DC, July 2, 2018 — Last week, House and Senate appropriators approved their respective Fiscal Year 2019 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPS) bills. This follows their work on Agriculture appropriations bills, which they completed earlier in the month. Across these spending packages, Congress rejected the Administration’s proposal to cut foreign aid by more than one-third.
“Congressional leaders understand that a 30% reduction in US foreign assistance would undermine US leadership assisting the poor and the vulnerable,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for advocacy and government relations.
The House SFOPS report highlighted that “now is not the time for the United States to back down from global engagement and its leadership role abroad.” The Senate SFOPS report emphasized the cost-effectiveness of development programs and noted the positive impact of life-saving humanitarian and global health programs. Both SFOPS bills included increases to poverty-reducing accounts while both Agriculture bills largely maintained current funding for international food aid programs.
“From nutrition to international disaster assistance, malaria to development assistance, Congressional appropriators maintained or increased critical accounts that help address the root causes of poverty and support communities on their path to self-reliance,” said O’Keefe.
The SFOPS bills also included language on the continued commitment to resolving complex challenges in places such as the Central African Republic, Burma, Venezuela, and Iraq. “We cannot lose focus on the protracted crises we face today and the need for more than just humanitarian assistance,” O’Keefe continued.
These bills will now move to the floor of each chamber for consideration. The House SFOPS and Agriculture bills will most likely be taken up as part of a larger minibus package while it remains unclear if the Senate will take up their bills on the floor.
“For 75 years, CRS has supported vulnerable populations in times of emergency, provided a pathway out of poverty for agricultural communities, and strengthened health systems and policies to reduce illness and death,” said O’Keefe. “We are grateful for the appropriators’ efforts on these important bills and look forward to working with Congress and the Administration as the process moves forward.”
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.