The Common Good

Raise Your Voice: Crucial Votes on Foreign Aid in Senate Begin Wednesday

A Ugandan woman undergoes an HIV test in a program funded by PEPFAR. Image via W
A Ugandan woman undergoes an HIV test in a program funded by PEPFAR. Image via Wylio.

Look: bi-partisan compromise!  

Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright [Democrat], Colin Powell [Republican], Condoleezza Rice [Republican], George Schultz [Republican] and Henry Kissinger [Republican] signed a letter in support of funding for foreign operations in the midst of many GOP candidates calling to set foreign aid back to zero. (Read more HERE.)

The letter read in part: “These programs are facing additional reductions in FY12 disproportionate to other security accounts – cuts that could be the steepest since the end of the Cold War."

This week, the Senate will vote on H.R. 2354, an appropriation bill that will determine the amount of funds we allocate for poverty-related development assistance. There are a number of amendments proposed that will severely cut this aid, which currently helps millions of the world's poorest and most vulnerable. The bottom 1 percent, if you will. 

The prophet Isaiah reminds us, "Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless." (Isaiah 10:1-2)

We should be wary to allow lawmakers to pass amendments that cut foreign aid. For each year, this aid funds programs that:

•    Feed more than 46 million people, 

•    Prevent more than 114,000 infants from being born with HIV, and

•    Save more than 3 million lives through immunization programs. 

World Vision reports a 10 percent funding cut would, for example, cause 400,000 people to lose their medicine and potentially lose their lives. Keep in mind, poverty-related foreign aid makes up less than 1 percent of our federal budget. 

Please, tell your senators to keep funding alive for the people whose lives depend on it. 

And continue to pray with us for the poor and vulnerable in the world.


James Colten is a campaigns assistant at Sojourners.

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