Media CenterCRS Statement: Cuts to Foreign Aid Weaken Hope for Millions Around the World

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Tom Zolper
Communications Writer
Catholic Relief Services
(410) 951-7110
[email protected]

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, February 11, 2019 – Bill O'Keefe, executive vice president of Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), issues this statement following the release of the president's budget request yesterday:

"U.S. foreign assistance is a symbol of hope for millions. It is a sign, on a human level, that the U.S. people will always stand with you during times of hardship, persecution or disaster. When the U.S. administration proposes cutting aid by 22%, including deep cuts to poverty-reducing development and lifesaving humanitarian assistance, we snuff out that hope.

The Catholic community in the United States, through their individual support for agencies like Catholic Relief Services, firmly believes in our collective ability to preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life. CRS, in partnership with the U.S. government, shelters families whose homes have been destroyed, offers technical assistance to farmers to weather shocks and sustain livelihoods and lifts millions of people out of poverty.

These across the board cuts neither improve efficiency nor increase effectiveness. While we all strive to improve how we deliver assistance to poor and vulnerable communities, cutting billions from humanitarian and development accounts will put us a step behind in responding to growing crises and undermine our goals along the journey to self-reliance. Furthermore, disregarding the need for assistance in places like the West Bank and Gaza and Central America hurts innocent families and is counter to U.S. interest.

Hope is more than a symbol. The hope we share is in the form of food, clean water, education and sustainable livelihoods. We look forward to working with Congress to elevate this hope and to strive for a more just and peaceful world."


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, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Tags: Advocacy