Foreign assistance is safe for another year! Rather than cutting it by a third (the White House’s original suggestion), the just-approved 2018 budget protects a large number of lifesaving accounts, including many of ONE’s core priorities.
“In the face of unprecedented proposed cuts from the White House to America’s foreign assistance programs, this budget is a positive sign that both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress are committed to continuing America’s leadership in the fight against extreme global poverty and disease,” says Tom Hart, ONE’s North America executive director.
But this budget — which protects programs that save lives and help lift millions of people out of extreme global poverty — couldn’t have happened without the work of some passionate people around the country who have been defending aid all year.
ONE’s volunteers in the United States stepped up in a big way, sending 43,000 letters, cards, and emails to their members of Congress urging them to fully fund the international affairs budget. They published letters to the editor in dozens of newspapers in their communities, and staged “field hearings” to get on the radar of key leaders in Arizona and Mississippi. They made 11,000 phone calls and — perhaps most impressively — went to their representative’s offices more than 500 times during the year for in-person meetings.
But that’s not all: Working with World Vision and others, ONE helped recruit more than 100 Christian leaders — including national Catholic and Evangelical leaders, pastors, heads of faith organizations, recording artists and authors — to sign a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them not to “turn our back on those in desperate need” with disproportionate cuts to America’s foreign assistance budget. ONE also organized joint testimony from 16 retired four-star generals and admirals to the Senate Armed Services Committee and other committees imploring Congress not to cut America’s foreign aid budget.
We applaud the hard work of members of Congress and their staff to protect this funding, especially Senators Cochran (R-MS), Leahy (D-VT) and Graham (R-SC), as well as Representatives Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Lowey (D-NY), and Rogers (R-KY). We also thank Senators McConnell and Schumer, and Representatives Ryan and Pelosi, for their leadership in advancing this budget bill.
This success is truly something to celebrate! Especially as the fight to protect aid in 2019 has already begun: Once again, the budget proposal from the White House for 2019 would slash funding for America’s development programs that are proven to save innocent lives, help create jobs here in America, and make our country safer.
So once again, Congress has to stop these cuts from becoming law, fully fund the international affairs budget, and ensure America continues to lead the fight against extreme global poverty. It’s up to us to ensure that Congress hears our powerful voices once again.