U.S. poverty-focused international assistance is making it possible for this child in a poor, remote village in India to receive a polio vaccine. While polio is rare, it is a frightening reality in India and other developing countries. Moreover, a polio outbreak in India or elsewhere in the world could have serious consequences for unvaccinated people in far-off places, spreading rapidly and causing paralysis in children for life and sometimes even killing them.
Congress is now preparing to make important decisions about how much funding to make available for programs such as this polio vaccine initiative and many others that are saving and changing lives around the world. While our nation’s fiscal challenges are significant, poverty-focused international assistance makes up less than 0.5% of the U.S. federal budget. This little bit of funding saves millions of lives around the world by providing food to the hungry, shelter to refugees, helping small farmers grow more crops, and educating children for a more prosperous and stable future. Cutting this assistance will not balance the federal budget, but careless cuts will cost lives. For further background, read these recent letters to the House and Senate Subcommittees by Bishop Richard Pates, Chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Dr. Carolyn Woo, President of Catholic Relief Services.
Your voice makes a difference. Your support for this lifesaving funding last year helped stave off steep cuts. Your voice is now needed again. Contact your members of Congress today and urge them to support poverty-focused international assistance in the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bills at the highest levels possible.
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