Why this issue is important: During the week of April 4 the Senate will begin consideration of its version of the FY 2005 emergency supplemental bill, which mostly provides funding for the Department of Defense but also includes funding for international operations, tsunami relief, and other unexpected or emergency needs not covered by the existing FY2005 budget. The House of Representatives has already passed its version of this bill.
Background: The House passed an FY 2005 emergency supplemental appropriations bill that included $150 million in emergency food aid for Sudan as well as $50 million for refugee aid and $50 million for disaster relief. USCCB and CRS welcome this funding, but urgent needs worldwide require additional resources. For example, the House also reduced by $200 million the President’s request for critical peacekeeping operations for countries like Sudan, Liberia, and Haiti. Meanwhile, critical global food aid needs demand an additional $534 million on top of the House bill to address worldwide emergencies and long-term development programs. Likewise, for the U.S. government to meet the President’s commitment to provide safe haven to 70,000 refugees in 2005, an additional $20 million will be required for migration and refugee assistance.
At the same time, that there may be a move in the Senate to attach the “REAL ID Act of 2005” to the supplemental, which the House passed as Division B in its supplemental appropriations. The “REAL ID Act” would unreasonably raise the standard and evidentiary requirements for obtaining asylum in the United States, repeal current law regarding the issuance of driver’s licenses; permit the waiver of any law that restricts construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexican border, and outsource immigration enforcement laws to “bounty hunters.”
THE CATHOLIC CAMPAIGN AGAINST GLOBAL POVERTY is a nationwide campaign organized jointly by USCCB and CRS engages Catholics to call upon our elected officials to make genuine human development for the poorest people and nations a top policy priority. The Campaign focuses on three areas of U.S. policy: trade, aid and debt. For more information, please visit www.usccb.org/globalpoverty.
As Congress considers the FY 2005 emergency supplemental appropriations bill that includes important policy decisions regarding U.S. foreign aid, we encourage all Catholics to engage in the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty and to remember the Gospel’s call to have a special concern for “the least of these.”
TAKE ACTION NOW! Please contact your Senators today and urge them to consider the following provisions as part of the FY 2005 supplemental appropriations bill:
- Support the $200 million for the Palestinians without the onerous conditions included in the House Bill.
- Support a total of $780 million for critical peacekeeping operations in the most troubled regions of our world.
- Support a total of $684 million for Title II food aid to meet urgent needs worldwide.
- Support an additional $20 million for migration and refugee assistance.
- Support additional funding for ongoing humanitarian emergencies such as Northern Uganda and Eastern Congo. Oppose the inclusion of Division B (the REAL ID Act of 2005).
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
- Forward this action alert to your family, friends, and fellow parishioners!
- Learn, discuss, and pray about global issues that affect the poor and how our advocacy efforts can make a difference. Visit www.usccb.org/sdwp and www.crs.org/grassroots.cfm for more information.
- Contribute to CRS' efforts. Visit our website www.crs.org or call (800) 736-3467 to make a gift today.
- Sign up for the CRS legislative network! www.crs.org/legislativenetwork.cfm.