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Letter to Senate on Appropriations and International Humanitarian and Development Assistance

 

Printable Version

December 11, 2017

The Honorable Lindsey Graham
Chair
Senate Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Harold Rogers
Chair
House Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Ranking Member
House Appropriations
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Graham, Ranking Member Leahy, Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Lowey:

Pope Francis consistently reminds the world to "hear the cry of the poor." In this spirit, I request that you protect international poverty-reducing humanitarian and development assistance when you finalize FY 2018 appropriations. Please see the attached chart for a list of specific funding priorities that the US Conference of Bishops and Catholic Relief Services support. At a minimum, I ask you to appropriate the higher levels recommended by each body in order to match at least the $22.6 billion that was enacted in FY 2017 (less than 0.5% of the budget). 

It is important to protect vital investments in diplomacy and development to prevent the outbreaks of conflict and terrorism by addressing long-standing root causes. Such investments will help decrease violence in the world, save lives, and reduce the need for excessive military spending and endangerment of the lives of the members of the US Armed Forces.

We live in a world where bounty lives alongside poverty and where horrible conflicts fester in places such as Yemen, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and Somalia. These conflicts have provoked famine and severe hunger that threaten tens of millions of lives. Fighting and crushing poverty have forced a record number of people to flee their homes and even their countries as refugees.

As a world power, the United States should continue to lead the world in providing life-saving humanitarian, refugee and migration assistance. Our country should work tirelessly to stop the violence, facilitate peacekeeping and support local political solutions that will allow conflict ridden countries to repair government  structures, the rule of law, foster integral human development and restore the social fabric torn apart by violence. Two cases in point are Colombia and the Central African Republic. The United States must maintain programs to build prosperity and sustainable peace to ensure that the historic peace deals end any chance of these countries sliding back into conflict.

Tragically, in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zimbabwe, corrupt and predatory governments deny people's rights, distort national constitutions and democratic structures, and manipulate societal divisions to stay in power. U.S. aid can support local civil society, including faith-based groups, that can help hold government accountable. Our nation can also work with regional countries, the Africa Union, the United Nations and international donors to exert diplomatic pressure to foster and support home-grown solutions to avoid the outbreak of conflict and promote democratic rule and the respect for human rights.

Many countries in the world do enjoy relative peace and good governance, but they struggle to provide their people with basic health care, education, agricultural assistance, and small-scale business promotion. U.S. government assistance, including programs implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and others, has made substantial and positive impacts around the world.

An effective and just foreign-affairs vision is one in which the United States projects its moral leadership by promoting justice and human rights, reducing poverty, and building stable and prosperous societies.

Thank you for the generosity and leadership you have traditionally shown to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The legacy we leave for future generations will be reflected in how we treat and serve the least of our brothers and sisters. I look forward to working with you to strengthen humanitarian and development assistance again this year.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops



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