This week, Washington, D.C. was abuzz with the release of President Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2014. While our staff continues to analyze the President’s proposal, we appreciate the administration’s overall commitment to diplomacy, humanitarian response and international development. Continued support for programs that save lives such as health and peacekeeping interventions are critical, and we look forward to working with the administration and Congress to ensure robust funding for these and other poverty-focused humanitarian and development programs.
One of the issues we will be monitoring closely is the President’s proposal to significantly change Food for Peace, the U.S. program that uses food commodities to address global hunger. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have long sought reforms to this program, but to do so in a way that prevents cuts to the life-saving work of existing programs. The President’s proposal would also move Food for Peace funding allocated for food needs during emergencies to a different account, known as International Disaster Assistance (IDA), while substantially cutting existing IDA programs. If enacted, these cuts would impact vital humanitarian needs such as shelter and medical assistance for the most vulnerable people around the world. The USCCB and CRS strongly urge Congress to reject cuts to disaster response programs.
As the President’s budget request is considered by Congress, you can rest assured that with your help, we will continue to advocate for our brothers and sisters who live in poverty.
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