Letter to U.S. Senate Regarding Funding for Foreign Operations Programs, May 22, 2006
May 22, 2006
Senator Thad Cochran,
Chairman, Committee on Appropriations,
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
As you prepare to make 302(b) allocations to the Subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am writing on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to request respectfully that you secure sufficient 302(b) funding levels to support critical foreign operations programs that support our country’s moral obligation towards the poor and vulnerable.
For the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, I ask you to make 302(b) funding allotment that will ensure full funding for the following:
- $5 billion to fund development and humanitarian accounts, on which many developing countries depend for survival and poverty reduction;
- $150 million in assistance to address the deepening poverty and unemployment among the Palestinian people;
- $3 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account, the President’s initiative that promises to unite poverty reduction with better and stronger governance in poor countries;
- $1.2 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) and $55 million for Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA);
- at least $4.3 billion for morally appropriate programs to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria (including the $566 million increase in the Global Fund per the Santorum/Durbin amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution); and
- the $950 million that is necessary to fund the Administration’s commitment to cancel 100% of the debt owed by heavily indebted poor countries to major international financial institutions.
Without a sufficient level of funding for the 302(b) allocation for the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, full funding of the priorities outlined above will be jeopardized. The poor and the vulnerable both at home and abroad have the first claim on our consciences and our resources.
Bishop Thomas G. Wenski
Bishop of Orlando
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
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