Advocacy, Catholics Confront Global Poverty

You Can Make A $2.9 Billion Difference

A lot of good can be done with an extra $2.9 billion.

That’s why we need you to urge your Senators to support no less than $53.9 billion for the FY2010 International Affairs Budget 302(b) allocations.

I know you’re thinking – what are 302 (b) allocations?  And $53.9 billion?  That’s a lot of money.  But wait.  It really is a drop in the bucket if you consider that the entire federal government budget amounted to more than 2,931 billion in FY 2008.

This is budgeting season for the federal government.  This is the  time when congressional appropriators – members who are part of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees as well as congressional leadership decide how much each one of the twelve appropriations subcommittees will be able to spend in the next fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2009.  This allocation is known as the 302(b) allocation.

So what this means is that Senate appropriators and leaders will soon decide how much money to allocate to programs that alleviate global poverty.  Programs like international food aid, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and other poverty-focused accounts.  In addition, this money funds programs such as agricultural development and microfinance to help people lift themselves out of poverty.  It also provides education and health services to poor people.

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee already decided its 302 (b) allocations, including approximately $51 billion for the FY2010 International Affairs Budget and $2.9 billion less than President Obama’s request, the amount that Catholic Relief Services and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is advocating for.

Pope Benedict XVI stated in his 2009 Message for the World Day of Peace, we must put our faith into action by “giving priority to the needs of the world’s poor, and overcoming the scandal of the imbalance between the problems of poverty and the measures which have been adopted in order to address them.”

This is a simple way to heed our Holy Father’s call.  Not everyone is called to go to another country to serve the poorest of the poor but everyone can contact their Senator’s office to support no less than $53.9 billion for the FY2010 International Affairs Budget 302(b) allocations.

– Josh Pollock, Volunteer Policy Consultant – Advocacy

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