The President’s proposed ‘skinny budget’ released today will make America weaker and less secure, here at home and overseas. The proposed budget functionally eliminates critical foreign assistance spending at USDA and makes dramatic cuts to the State Department. The proposal, if enacted, would also eliminate or drastically reduce support for low-income Americans – notably the elderly, mothers and children – as they work to get on their feet. This would accomplish the opposite of what the proposal purports to want – fewer jobs, less prosperity, greater poverty.
This February, famine was declared in the African country of South Sudan. Three other countries (Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen) are currently at acute risk of famine, and more people are displaced from their homes than at any time since WWII. “This budget proposes that we turn our back on decades of global leadership in humanitarian assistance – and a blind eye to human suffering on a massive scale in these regions and others,” said Hunger Center Executive Director Shannon Maynard. “Indeed this proposal is a recipe for threats to our national character and security, as they would further destabilize already fragile states. Today, no country is immune from crisis or instability elsewhere, even a continent away. Effective foreign assistance is the most cost-effective way to continue our nation’s leadership toward a peaceful, prosperous world.”
The proposal would also hurt millions of our fellow Americans. Cuts to WIC and the Community Development Block Grant (which funds Meals on Wheels) will take food out of the mouths of pregnant women, infants, young children, and seniors, while the total elimination of proven antipoverty programs such as LIHEAP will mean forcing people to choose between buying groceries and heating their homes. “Investments in a healthy, well-nourished population of Americans here at home have been proven to yield educational and economic dividends for generations. Why would we throw away such high ROI?” says Maynard.
The Congressional Hunger Center calls on lawmakers to continue their traditional bipartisan commitment to supporting America’s best interests and say “No” to a proposal that jeopardizes the very fabric of what makes our country great. The cost is too high for us to bargain away our moral leadership and international standing.