WHY THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT: The Foreign Operations Appropriations bill includes important funding for international assistance programs that save lives and promote self-sufficiency by fighting devastating diseases such as HIV/AIDS and supporting education, health, peacekeeping and sustainable agriculture.
The House of Representatives has passed a foreign operations appropriations bill for the next fiscal year that has fallen far short of what Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have identified will be needed. The Senate Appropriations Committee has also passed its bill and the full Senate is expected to begin consideration today, July 15.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Please contact your Senators today and Monday, July 18 and urge them to fund international assistance programs robustly in FY 2006. Visit the CRS website www.crs.org/actioncenter.cfm - to send a message today.
BACKGROUND: In support of our mission to follow the Gospels call to alleviate human suffering and promote justice throughout the world, CRS joins the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in promoting the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty. For more information, visit our website: www.usccb.org/globalpoverty.
Our campaign is rooted in our Churchs teaching to uphold human dignity. Likewise, U.S. foreign aid should reflect the needs and promote the human dignity of the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. It is therefore essential that Congress robustly fund the following important programs that will benefit millions of people whose lives and dignity are threatened daily by poverty, disease, natural disasters, conflict and persecution:
- International Development Association (IDA): Appropriate $950 million for the U.S. contribution to the IDA. Anything less will fail to provide the necessary leadership to the global community and may jeopardize the recent G7 agreement on new IDA debt cancellation for poor countries.
- Development Assistance: Support the $1.7 billion proposed for development assistance, and increase it as necessary to fund the Presidents initiative for strengthening basic education in Africa.
- Humanitarian Assistance: Provide at least the amount proposed by the Appropriations Committee to support peace-building, democracy, development and emergency relief in Africa.
- Global Health: Support the $2.9 billion proposed for combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and increase it as necessary to launch the Presidents recently announced malaria initiative for Africa.
- Migration and Refugee Assistance: Support $900 million for Migration and Refugee Assistance and $50 million for the Emergency Migration and Refugee Account (ERMA). Millennium Challenge Account (MCA): Fund the MCA at $1.8 billion, and restrict MCA funding at least through FY 2006 to low income countries.
- Aid to Palestinians: Fully fund the Presidents request for $150 million for the Palestinians, but remove onerous conditions attached to the aid that will limit its effectiveness and delay its delivery.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP: Get involved in the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty www.usccb.org/globalpoverty, a joint effort by USCCB and CRS that encourages Catholics in the United States to learn about the issues of aid, trade and debt, how they affect our brothers and sisters worldwide, and what you can do to advocate for U.S. policies that promote economic and social development for people living in poverty.
For more information, contact:
Tina Rodousakis, Legislative Network Specialist, 1-800-235-2772 x 7462, Trodousa@crs.org
Fr. Andrew Small, Policy Advisor, International Economic Development, USCCB, (202) 541-3153; email@example.com