Leading humanitarian, development, and global health organizations call upon Congress to reject the Administration’s inadequate and dangerous Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 2019) and to instead sustain and protect the International Affairs Budget in FY 2019 at a minimum of current FY 2017 levels. Congressional leadership remains critical to ensuring strong U.S. global leadership through poverty-focused development, global health, and humanitarian programs.
At this a time of unprecedented global challenges — record levels of forced displacement, nearly 30 million people on the brink of famine, and repeated outbreaks of highly infectious diseases — United States global leadership has never been more important. Time and time again, Congress has acted in a bipartisan and bicameral manner to support smart global engagement through programs, budgets, and policies that demonstrate American values, while advancing our national interest. Now, more than ever, we urge Congress to continue to ensure U.S. leadership, reject cuts proposed to lifesaving programs, and to fight against the removal of tools from our foreign policy toolkit when even more are needed. We call on Congress to support no less than $59.160 billion for the International Affairs Budget in FY 2019.
The diplomacy and development programs funded through the International Affairs Budget save lives and work to address the root causes of suffering, poor health, forced migration, and conflict. A failure to maintain our commitments may cost lives, risk the spread of infectious diseases, and reduce American influence around the world. American generosity helps to provide stability around the globe with roughly 1 percent of the federal budget, of which an even smaller portion is dedicated to achieving humanitarian, development, and health outcomes for the world’s most marginalized children, women and men.
As U.S. non-profits operating in nearly every country across the globe, we remain committed to working with the most vulnerable people and those who are living in poverty to alleviate human suffering and make the world a more peaceful, just, and prosperous place. We often partner with the U.S. government, which helps us to achieve greater scale. Our work has produced dramatic and demonstrable and sustainable results, including bringing us to the brink of controlling some of the globe’s most deadly diseases.
We are deeply concerned with the Administration’s FY 2019 International Affairs budget request, which for the second year in a row proposes to slash funding for effective, lifesaving accounts that help create a safer and more secure world. At a time when global crises continue to grow, this irresponsible budget proposal shows a lack of understanding of the significant value of U.S. leadership. If the U.S. retreats, these crises will only continue to deteriorate, confronting our allies and partners with dangerous instability and putting American interests at risk. Foreign assistance funding is fundamental to America’s global leadership and essential to shaping a world where our national interests will thrive, our values will prosper and countries move toward self-sufficiency. Cuts to these accounts will not achieve these goals or make the world safer: such cuts risk walking back incredible progress made in reducing child and maternal mortality, reducing food insecurity, and increasing access to education and opportunity. They may have life-and-death consequences for the poorest people in the world, and they will reduce the life-saving and economic impacts that we see every day.