New York, NY, March 16, 2017 — The International Rescue Committee, which provides humanitarian aid in 40 countries and resettles security-vetted refugees to 28 U.S. cities, has called the Trump's administration proposed cuts to US foreign aid counterproductive and ill-timed. Rather than putting America First, it endangers both our values and our interests, by not honoring the United States’ longstanding commitment to global poverty reduction and humanitarian leadership and by reducing the indispensable resources needed to address the causes and symptoms of global instability.
IRC President and CEO David Miliband remarked, “A reduction of roughly one-third in foreign assistance proposed by the Trump administration - which includes life-saving efforts in global health and hunger, and responses to 60 humanitarian crises a year on average - endangers US values and interests abroad. What’s more, the US foreign assistance budget makes up a mere 1% of the federal budget - a tiny category of discretionary spending which saves lives and spreads goodwill around the world.
Matched with the newly-signed Executive Order ‘Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry To The United States’ the cuts to foreign aid send a clear message to the world’s most vulnerable: you are not welcome in America, and America won’t help you where you are.”
Continued U.S. foreign assistance - via robust FY2017 and FY2018 International Affairs budgets - is an indispensable step in alleviating humanitarian suffering abroad and protecting the interests and the security of the United States and its allies abroad. “Global threats like Ebola and ISIS grow out of poverty, instability, and bad governance,” Miliband added, “working to counteract these with a forward-leaning foreign aid policy doesn’t just mean saving lives today, but sparing the US and its allies around the world the much more difficult, expensive work of combating them tomorrow.”
With 65 million people displaced and 93 million worldwide in need of assistance, global humanitarian needs are unprecedented - from Syria, reaching its 6th year of brutal civil war this week, to East Africa, facing another sweeping famine, to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the many other crises in need of urgent attention worldwide. U.S. foreign assistance is needed now more than ever as a critical lifeline for the world’s most vulnerable, as a bulwark against global instability and the visible expression of America’s interests and values. “The IRC urges the U.S. Congress to ensure foreign assistance levels ultimately provided are commensurate with the global challenges we face and adequate to respond to historic levels of humanitarian need.”