Letter

Letter to Congress on Funding for FY 2014 and 2015 Poverty-focused and Humanitarian Accounts for International Assistance, March 27, 2014

Topic
Year Published
  • 2014
Language
  • English

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Kay Granger
Chairman
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Lindsey Graham
Ranking Member Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

March 27, 2014

Dear Chairman Leahy, Chairman Granger, Ranking Member Graham and Ranking Member Lowey:

As the Catholic Church celebrates the one year anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope Francis, we join him in solidarity with those suffering in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, and the many forgotten conflicts around the globe. On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services, we commend you for your thoughtful decisions to fund appropriately the poverty-focused and humanitarian accounts in the fiscal year 2014 appropriations, and hope you will continue to give them priority attention in fiscal year 2015. Please find attached a list of the accounts we ask Congress to prioritize. We highlight several below.

Based on advice from our partners and CRS staff on the ground, we are deeply concerned about humanitarian funding. International Disaster Assistance, Migration and Refugee Assistance, and Food for Peace must be able to respond not only to the crises of today but also their potential escalation. And of course, should another major natural disaster occur or conflict erupt, some contingency funding is necessary. We urge that these accounts be funded at least at the levels of fiscal year 2014.

We fully support the Administration’s request to increase funding for peacekeeping; $300 million of that would fund the nascent force in Mali. The proposed Peacekeeping Response Mechanism is a creative response to ensure flexibility should crises escalate, such as the violence in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. We support this proposal. Peacekeeping operations not only help to contain violence, but also enable organizations like CRS to provide humanitarian assistance.

Finally, we request that Congress maintain fiscal year 2014 levels for the global health programs enumerated in the accompanying chart. We must continue the significant gains these accounts have made possible against the spread of certain diseases that have taken so many lives throughout history. We cannot afford to retreat on the progress we have made in bringing healthy lives and hope to people across the globe.

We know that appropriations decisions reflect values, and we applaud you for ensuring that the poor and vulnerable around the globe are protected. As Pope Francis said, “In all places and circumstances, Christians, with the help of their pastors, are called to hear the cry of the poor.” (The Joy of the Gospel 191) It is not only the right thing to do, but these investments in people also help strengthen world solidarity in which every nation, including our own, benefits from economic growth and stability. Please let us know how we can help as you discern funding for fiscal year 2015.

Sincerely,

Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Bishop of Des Moines
Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo
President and CEO Catholic Relief Services

Encl.

letter-to-congress-from-usccb-and-crs-on-fy2015-international-assistance-2014-03-27.pdf