More than 40 US senators have signed a letter calling for Congress to fully fund foreign aid efforts.
The State Department budget, which US President Donald Trump wants to cut by 28%, funds hunger, education, health, gender equality, democracy-building, climate change and environment, and poverty programs for the world's most vulnerable people.
In a letter addressed to key Congressional leaders on the budget committee, the bipartisan group of 43 senators call for “strong bipartisan support for robust funding for the Fiscal Year 2018 International Affairs Budget.”
A majority of the Senators who signed the letter are Democrats, but they were joined by six Republicans and one Independent.
The letter goes on to say: “The United States International Affairs Budget bolsters our security through programs that identify and help mitigate threats, improve the political and economic lives of others, address humanitarian crises, and help stabilize fragile states that are prone to become unstable havens for terrorism. Aid workers and our diplomats are indispensable partners in these efforts, and depriving them of critical resources would make Americans less safe.”
The letter, which is addressed to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), also cites other leaders who’ve come out against the cuts: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who advocated for a fully funded State Department while heading up US Central Command, and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who’s previously advocated for strong foreign aid programs.
The letter ends by stating emphatically: “deep cuts to the International Affairs Budget would undermine our country’s economic and national security interests, as well as the humanitarian and democratic principles we support. For these reasons, we urge you to ensure that Congress supports robust funding for the Fiscal Year 2018 International Affairs Budget.”
Read the full letter here.
This is the latest in a series of efforts to rally support for foreign aid.
More than 120 retired military leaders signed an open letter opposing the cuts, which would see budgets reduced significantly and entire programs shut down.
A large group of faith leaders also penned a letter to Congressional leaders, advocating against the budget cuts.
Bill Gates met with President Trump to lobby him on the benefits of foreign aid.
President George W. Bush even spoke out on how critical foreign aid is to US security.
And just yesterday, a group of nine former ambassadors signed a letter to Congress asking them to not cut UN funding.
Global Citizen is campaigning to make sure foreign aid stays fully funded. You can take action here.