Why this issue is important: Last week the Senate passed H.R. 1268, its version of the FY 2005 emergency supplemental bill, which mostly provides funding for the Department of Defense but also includes funding for urgent international assistance programs, tsunami relief, and other unexpected or emergency needs not covered by the existing FY 2005 budget. The House passed its version of this bill earlier this month. Now the House and Senate must negotiate the differences between their two bills and finalize a compromise version.
As part of the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty (www.usccb.org/globalpoverty) USCCB, CRS, and Catholics throughout the United States have been deeply involved in advocacy efforts to make sure that the supplemental bill includes critical funding for urgent global food aid and humanitarian assistance needs. Now as the House and Senate conference committee prepares to consider the supplemental, we urge members to remember the poor and most vulnerable in our world and our moral obligation to address famine, conflict, and other global emergencies.
Background: The House-passed version of the FY 2005 emergency supplemental appropriations bill includes some funding for emergency food aid for Sudan as well as refugee aid and disaster relief. The Senate-passed version includes significantly more resources for several urgently required programs. USCCB and CRS are calling on Congress to address the critical needs of the worlds most vulnerable people.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Please contact all your members of Congress today and urge them not to include H.R. 418, the REAL ID Act of 2005, in the conference report. Likewise urge them to support the following in the final FY05 supplemental appropriations bill:
- Title II Food Aid: $470 million, as proposed by the Senate for critically needed food assistance.
- International Peacekeeping Operations: $680 million as proposed by the Senate to alleviate conflict and instability.
- Sudan and other Emergencies: $94 million for International Disaster and Famine Assistance as proposed by the House; and $50 million for the African Union and $63 million to assist in implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Southern Sudan as proposed by the Senate. Ensure that these funds are not taken from other peacekeeping or humanitarian funds.
- Haiti: $20 million, the Senate-approved level appropriation to assist the Haitian government in restoring peace, stability and security.
- Refugee Protection: $108.4 million for Migration and Refugee Assistance, the Senate-approved funding as well as the Senate language specifying that a portion of these funds is to be used to increase refugee admissions.
- Palestinian Aid: No less than the House-approved funding level of $200 million for Palestinian assistance without the onerous conditions placed on the funding.
- Tsunami Relief: Adopt the $659 million proposed by House to fund immediate tsunami recovery and long-term reconstruction.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
- Forward this action alertto your family, friends, and fellow parishioners!
- Visit our website - www.crs.org/grassroots.cfm -for educational, action, and prayer resources on global issues that affect the poor.
- Contribute to CRS' efforts. Visit our website- ww.crs.org - or call (800) 736-3467 to make a gift today.
- Sign up for the legislative network! www.crs.org/legislativenetwork.cfm
Tina Rodousakis, Legislative Network Specialist, 1-800-235-2772 x 7462, Trodousa@catholicrelief.org
Fr. Andrew Small, OMI, Policy Advisor, USCCB, 202-541-3153, Asmall@usccb.org