Advocacy, Catholics Confront Global Poverty

Tell Congress that Careless Cuts Cost Lives

What’s the Issue? Poverty-focused domestic and international assistance that saves lives around the world is seriously at risk because of proposed congressional spending cuts in FY 2011. There are also disproportionate cuts in programs that serve the poor in our own nation. Congress must act before April 8 or the government will shut down. A shutdown of government services will fall most heavily on those who have the fewest resources.

What do you want me to do? Contact your members of Congress now and urge them to preserve poverty-focused international assistance in the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution at the President’s FY 2011 request level. Tell them that:
1. It is morally unacceptable for our nation to balance its budget on the backs of poor people at home and abroad.
2. Fiscal responsibility is important, but it requires shared sacrifice, not disproportionate cuts in programs that serve poor persons and promote peace.
3. Responsible leadership for the common good is needed to avert a government shutdown that would most negatively impact those with the least resources.

Take Action Now!
• E-mail, fax or print and mail a letter to your members of Congress from our Action Center
• Call 1-866-596-7030 for talking points and to be connected to your members’ office.

Why is action urgent now? Congress must act before April 8 to pass a budget for the rest of the current fiscal year that ends of September 30, 2011 to ensure that the U.S. government, its agencies and programs continue to operate. Failure to pass a budget would risk a government shut-down. A proposal that passed the House of Representatives cut funding for poverty-focused international assistance programs by nearly 27%, far more than the less than 3% cut in the overall budget. These cuts, if enacted, will result in the loss of innocent lives.

What would proposed cuts mean to our sisters and brothers living in poverty? These cuts, if enacted, will result in the loss of innocent lives. Victims of natural disasters will go without shelter, clean water and food. Poor families will be unable to grow the food they need to survive. Babies will die of preventable diseases. For example, CRS has used U.S. international assistance to help save millions of lives by providing antiretroviral therapies to people affected by HIV in Africa and other hard hit regions, reconstructed thousands of shelters in places devastated by natural disasters like Haiti, and provided food to people affected by famine.

But don’t we have to control government spending? USCCB and CRS agree that fiscal responsibility demands shared sacrifice; but the cuts proposed to poverty-focused international assistance programs are disproportionate. While most Americans think international assistance constitutes 25% of the federal budget and want to cut it to 10%, it actually only constitutes 1% of the federal budget. Serious efforts to reduce the deficit must consider the entire federal budget.

For more information, visit crs.org/globalpoverty or usccb.org/globalpoverty or contact:
Stephen Hilbert, Policy Adviser for Africa/Foreign Aid, International Justice and Peace, USCCB; 202-541-3149 shilbert@usccb.org

Tina Rodousakis, Deputy Director, Advocacy, CRS: 410-951-7462, tina.rodousakis@crs.org

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