For immediate action: international affairs funding

If you believe the cuts being made to the international affairs budget are shortsighted like many of us who work in international affairs, please consider printing, signing, and mailing this letter to Chairman Leahy and your Congressperson. Foreign assistance – excluding military spending – accounts for less than one percent of the federal budget, and while these cuts will have devastating effects on individuals, families, and communities, they will hardly make a dent in the cuts that need to happen to resolve the spending/debt crisis we’ve created.

If you need domestic – and not just doing-good – justification for why foreign affairs spending is essential to domestic growth, please see my previous post where a few kids will tell you what you need to know.

I’m not lucky enough to have representation who can vote in the House or Senate, thanks to the fact that I live in DC. I still plan on signing & sending this off to the reps from my childhood homes, though, and to Chairman Leahy.

Special thanks to CORE Group and PATH  for drafting and circulating this letter. You can also cute and paste the letter into this form, with your name, and send it electronically.

ACTION: PLEASE SIGN ON TO THE LETTER BELOW (also attached) AND EXPRESS YOUR CONCERN ABOUT PROPOSED FUNDING CUTS BY FRIDAY AUGUST 19.

August xx, 2011

The Honorable Patrick Leahy

Chair,

Subcommittee on State/Foreign Operations

Committee on Appropriations

U.S. Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Chair:

We are writing to express our extreme concern about the potentially devastating effects of the deep and disproportionate cuts in the House of Representative’s International Affairs Budget. As you continue work on the Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12) Appropriations bills we, the undersigned organizations, urge you to defend long-standing US commitments to meet critical health and development needs by fully funding the International Affairs account, including global health programs, within the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriation bill.

The bill being considered in the House would cut 9% from current global health funding levels. This means that

    • 24,074 more infants will be infected with HIV
    • 345,559 orphans and vulnerable children will potentially lose their food, education, and livelihood assistance
    • AIDS treatment will be eliminated for 332,216 people;
    • 3.8 million fewer people will be treated for malaria
    • 37,292 fewer people with tuberculosis (TB) and 375 fewer people with multidrug-resistant TB would receive lifesaving treatment, seriously endangering their lives as well as others’ due to the highly contagious nature of this illness.
    • 640,000 mothers and newborns would not be reached with life-saving interventions during pregnancy, childbirth and soon after birth.
    • Over 1 million (1,028,330) fewer children could receive low-cost antibiotics to treat pneumonia – the leading killer of kids under five
    • 1.6 (1,623,165) million fewer children could receive oral rehydration salts that can help save many of the 1.2 million who die needlessly from diarrhea.
    • More than 900,000 (910,158)children could not be immunized against measles, tetanus, and pertussis.
    • Thousands of health workers could not receive the midwifery training needed to help ensure that mothers deliver with a skilled health worker present – seriously endangering the life of the mother and newborn.

This is not the time for the United States to retreat from global leadership on health and development assistance programs.  In a world where health, development and economic growth are inextricably linked, it is in the best interest of our economy and national security to ensure the creation of strong and healthy nations. It is important that U.S. efforts to defend our national security be augmented by health and development policies and programs that prevent inequity and unrest. The U.S. must remain committed to battling conditions that lead to extreme deprivation – such as lack of access to food, safe water, adequate health care – and infringement of basic human rights, which create environments conducive to fostering threats against the security of our nation.

Although the U.S. budget for global health comprises less than one percent of the total federal budget, these programs are high-impact and cost-effective. U.S. support for global health – has provided funding that has enabled the U.S. to

  • treat more than 3 million people living with HIV and prevent HIV transmission among millions more;
  • cut  the number of malaria cases by more than 50% in 43 countries in the last 10 years;
  • immunize more than 100 million children each year;
  • treat 10 million people with tuberculosis;
  •  treat more than 168 million people for neglected tropical diseases;
  • help millions of women prevent unintended pregnancies;
  • increased the number of skilled birth attendants present during

deliveries; and support research to develop and deliver new vaccines,drugs, and other critical health tools.

These resources allocated to global health are critical to advancing U.S. interests and other international development targets and objectives, mitigating the effects of the global financial crisis and securing a healthier, safer world. Now is not the time to roll back progress.

We recognize and understand the difficult fiscal environment facing this country. We are also concerned about the costs of disproportionate cuts on programs that have proven their value and effectiveness.  Heedlessly slashing US global health programs will reverse the gains we have seen worldwide, and ultimately cost us more in the long run.  An overwhelming majority of Americans across the political spectrum have supported U.S. assistance for global health and development programs. We urge you to support full funding for the International Affairs budget and American commitments to global health in the FY 12 .

Sincerely,

[your name here]

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