Aid groups appealed to the U.S. House of Representatives to spare foreign humanitarian assistance from cuts outlined in the spending bill for the remainder of fiscal 2011.
In a Feb. 22 letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner, heads of 29 international aid organizations warned that the cuts “would imperil the longstanding U.S. commitment to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance for those threatened by disaster and conflict.”
House Republicans are seeking $61 billion in cuts for fiscal 2011, which includes reduced funding for international food programs by up to 50 percent compared to 2010 levels. The cuts also propose that the State Department budget for refugees be 40 percent less than 2010 levels, while the International Disaster Assistance Fund be reduced by 67 percent.
“Addressing the drivers of the national debt is wise. Abruptly reducing US humanitarian commitments in order to save less than one quarter of one percent of total discretionary spending is not,” the letter reads.
The cuts would undermine U.S. humanitarian efforts for people affected by drought in the Horn of Africa, natural disaster and conflict victims in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and returning refugees in Sudan.
The letter is signed by ADRA International, the American Jewish World Service, American Refugee Committee, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, CHF International, ChildFund International, Church World Service, Food for the Hungry, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Medical Corps, International Relief and Development, International Relief Teams, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Life for Relief & Development, Lutheran World Relief, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Refugees International, Relief International, Resolve, Save the Children, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Women’s Refugee Commission, World Food Program–USA, Hope International and World Vision.
Read more about U.S. development aid.