[Episcopal Public Policy Network] This is the second in our four-part series that highlights the far-reaching consequences of disproportionate cuts that will be enacted if Congress fails to reach a balanced compromise over the next few months. (The first in the series is here.)
Under an agreement Congress reached in 2011, a variety of federal programs that benefit tens-of-millions of people living in poverty at home and around the world will face automatic cuts of 8.2 percent if Congress fails to agree by the end of the year on a balanced approach to alleviating our national deficit.
Congress has already cut the International Affairs Budget (which includes nearly all international poverty-focused development assistance) by 15 percent over the last two years; International Affairs is now only one percent of the federal budget.
Contact your members of congress TODAY – express your concern for the people affected by the deep cuts to international poverty-focused development assistance programs forced by the sequester.
What is at stake for impoverished people around the world if Congress makes an additional 8.2 percent ($4.7 billion) cut to these programs?
Food Assistance: Food for Peace and other U.S. food aid programs feed 66 million vulnerable people and more than 5 million hungry school children each year. If the 8.2 percent cut takes effect, 3.33 million people and 377,200 children will have their access to lifesaving food aid and school feeding programs reduced or denied.
HIV/AIDS Treatment and Prevention: Every year 4 million people living with HIV or AIDS receive lifesaving antiretroviral treatments from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other global health programs. An 8.2 percent cut would cause 276,500 fewer people to receive treatment for HIV/AIDS, including 112,500 fewer HIV-positive pregnant women. This could cause up to 63,000 more AIDS-related deaths and 21,000 more infants infected with HIV at birth.
Malaria Prevention: Under an 8.2 percent cut to the President’s Malaria Initiative and other global health programs, 2.2 million fewer insecticide-treated nets would be distributed to families and communities vulnerable to malaria at a time when nets distributed over the past several years by NetsforLife® and other initiatives must now be replaced.
Refugee Assistance: There are an estimated 15.3 million refugees worldwide. The Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account provides lifesaving services including food, health care, water, sanitation, and shelter for refugees in protracted situations and emergency crises. The proposed 8.2 percent cut to the MRA account would endanger this lifesaving assistance for refugees, as well as put at risk programs that help make refugee populations self-sufficient and less reliant on long-term aid.
Tell Congress that you care how these cuts will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.