Melinda Gates Just Posted the Perfect Response to Trump’s Proposed Foreign Aid Cuts
“This plan falls far short of America’s longstanding aid commitments.”
On Monday, the Trump administration released its 2019 fiscal year budget request — and it’s safe to say Melinda Gates is not a fan.
The budget would decimate foreign affairs spending, to the tune of a 30% decrease from 2017.
For Gates, a renowned philanthropist and Global Citizen, these cuts could jeopardize some of the progress the Gates Foundation has achieved in combating poverty around the world, taking health, educational, and other resources away from men, women, and children in developing countries.
So, as seems to be the norm in 2018, she took to Twitter to express her dismay and demand more from the US government.
Calling the proposed cuts a “misguided approach… toward global health & development,” Gates’ eight-tweet thread argued that the budget “falls far short of America’s longstanding aid commitments.”
Today, the President released his budget request for 2019. It continues the misguided approach the Administration has taken toward global health & development over the past year.— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
This plan falls far short of America’s longstanding aid commitments, & I think we should be crystal clear about what that means.— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
Historically, the U.S. has dedicated only about 1 percent of the federal budget to foreign aid. Even that small investment reaps enormous returns—not only for the health & well-being of people overseas, but for the safety & security of our citizens.— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
For example, the fact that we already had health workers on the ground in Nigeria fighting polio was a key reason we were able to contain the last Ebola epidemic before it reached our shores. Make no mistake: foreign aid funding protects American lives, too.— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
While the proposal restores some funding for international family planning, I remain troubled by the impact of underfunding these programs, both through the budget & the continued impact of the Mexico City Policy.— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
For many around the world, family planning is a matter of life & death. Without the ability to plan & space their pregnancies, women are more likely to die in childbirth, babies are less likely to survive childhood, & more vulnerable families are trapped in a cycle of poverty.— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
When I think about what’s at stake, I think of Sadi, a woman I met in Niger—a mother of six who uses contraceptives because she believes it’s part of her duty as a parent. “It wouldn’t be fair for me to have another child,” she told me. “I can’t afford to feed the ones I have.”— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
Budgets are a reflection of our priorities. When we cut funding for the programs that are keeping women & children alive, it sends a signal to the world that we do not care about their lives or futures.— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) February 12, 2018
The 2019 fiscal year budget includes deep spending cuts to some of the agencies that support Global Citizen’s campaigns across the country and around the world. This includes cuts of 5% or more to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, and even the Small Business Administration.
The 2019 budget also proposes cutting the international affairs budget by $8.9 billion, which would represent a 23% decrease from 2018.
These cuts are in keeping with the president’s “America first” platform, with which the president has proposed cuts to foreign affairs spending while calling for increased spending on defense and veterans affairs.
Trump doubled down on this vision in his February State of the Union address, calling for “American foreign-assistance dollars [to] always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America.”
In their annual letter, released Tuesday, Bill and Melinda Gates, whose $40 billion charitable foundation (a partner of Global Citizen) works in more than 100 countries around the world, said that if the proposed budget were to pass in Congress, “people in other countries will die, and Americans will be worse off.”
In that letter, they also credited Congress for having moved to put money back into the 2018 foreign affairs budget after Trump proposed cutting it by 32% last March. In the end, this year’s foreign affairs budget request, which will be finalized by March 23, is expected to be 10% lower than it was in 2017, a far cry from the 32% the Trump administration had proposed.
And that was in small part thanks to the thousands of actions Global Citizens took to #StopTheCuts and protect foreign aid. You can join us and call on members of Congress to protect the 2019 foreign aid budget here.