Reactions to Obama's foreign aid budget proposal

U.S. President Barack Obama reflects during a budget meeting in the White House. Photo by: Pete Souza / The White House

It’s a plan to overhaul food aid, expand triangular cooperation and advance Obama administration priorities related to global health, democracy and climate change – but passing the White House’s 2014 budget request will be tough given broad Republican opposition.

Still, reactions from global aid leaders have been positive. Here are some of them:

USGLC: ‘Request balances America’s strategic interests with fiscal constraints’

“The request makes some tough choices, prioritizing protection of our diplomats and embassies, areas of strategic importance like the Middle East, reforms to make our civilian operations more effective, and greater leveraging of the partnerships with the private sector. At the same time, it significantly reduces resources for the Frontline states of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq and scales back on USAID’s presence in eleven countries.”

- U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

Save the Children: ‘Balances strategic investments with fiscal discipline and key reforms’

We see smart investments in early learning for kids in America and in health for kids around the world that will pay off in the long term. But there’s a real risk that the budget cuts of the last three years  if they continue  will erode the overall safety net for kids and families. And quite frankly, as the budget debate moves to Congress, we’re concerned.”

- Carolyn Miles, president & CEO, Save the Children

Oxfam America: ‘Bring food aid into the 21st century’

“President Obama is walking the talk by supporting key global anti-poverty programs, while also taking an important step towards long overdue reforms to bring food aid into the 21st century. Now it’s up to Congress to fund these life-saving programs and take up common sense reforms of the food aid program; first to assist hungry people, second to honor taxpayers.”

- Paul O’Brien, vice president of policy and campaigns, Oxfam America

IATP: ‘Overdue reforms to food aid a welcome change in new presidential budget’

“As IATP and so many others have pointed out, the arguments for shipping American grain around the world are just wrong-headed. If the U.S. needs to subsidize its shipping industry, let it do so directly and not in the name of the world’s hungry. We have seen other big food aid donors — for example, the Canadians — successfully move from in-kind aid to cash-based purchases of grain that support local agriculture. It’s so important the U.S. get this right.”

- Sophia Murphy, senior advisor, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

NGO alliance: ‘Humanitarian groups should be provided adequate flexibility’

“Reform is long overdue and the Administration’s proposal is a solid step in the right direction. Such a policy will begin the process of making our assistance more cost effective and reducing long-term food aid dependency. However, a bolder effort with greater flexibility will be necessary in FY2015 in order to truly meet the urgency of the moment. U.S. commodities must remain available to meet emergencies around the world, but rather than tying our humanitarian aid program to any single source, humanitarian groups should be provided adequate flexibility to respond to each emergency with the tools that will feed the most people in the most efficient way. The Administration should commit to phasing out this requirement in order to maximize efficiency and flexibility.”

- ActionAid, American Jewish World Service, Bread for the World, CARE, Church World Service, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Maryknoll, The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, ONE, Oxfam America, Partners in Health, Save the Children

Better World Campaign: ‘Budget renews our commitment to our multilateral and bilateral global health priorities’

“The president’s budget rightly honors our commitments to the U.N. and calls for paying our dues. It comes at a particularly critical time as the U.S. confronts global threats in Syria, North Korea and Iran. The U.S. cannot and should not have to go it alone in such trying times, and our strong engagement at the UN ensures that we do not have to.”

- Peter Yeo, executive director, Better World Campaign

Global Fund: ‘Strongly welcomed the US$1.65 billion requested’

“We have an extraordinary window of opportunity before us. We applaud and thank the U.S. for its leadership. We hope others will also join the efforts to seize this moment.”

- Mark Dybul, executive director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria

Bono: ‘Winning path to finally beat AIDS’

President Obama’s budget puts the world on a winning path to finally beat AIDS, TB and malaria. These killer diseases aren’t quite on the ropes but they are teetering; now, thanks to this budget, we’re closer than ever to delivering the knockout punch. All of us at the ONE Campaign are grateful for the President’s commitment, and to the ongoing commitment from Republican and Democratic leaders to support these life-saving programs.”- Bono, U2 lead singer and co-founder, ONE

“The president’s strong commitment to The Global Fund is particularly crucial. Both for the good it will do and the example it sets for other donors around the world. The pressure is now on other nations to step up to make bold three-year pledges to the Fund later this year.”

- Tom Hart, U.S. executive director, ONE

“If the U.S. government were to just keep its annual funding at that level for the next three years, it would translate into a pledge of $5 billion for the next replenishment period. In turn this would hopefully leverage other donors to increase their pledges to $10 billion, the sum of which would meet the $15 billion called for at the pre-replenishment meeting this week in Brussels.”

- Jason Wright, U.S. director, International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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