I am a member of a congregation of the United Church of Christ and I am passionate about the need to eliminate hunger. My church is committed to serving hungry people in our community, but I also expect the U.S. government to take a lead in addressing hunger around the world in systemic ways.
I am deeply concerned about some of the budget cuts Congress is considering. Cutting vital programs in such difficult times will have a devastating and possibly deadly impact on people throughout the world -- we must not balance the budget on the backs of poor people. It is all of our responsibility to protect those who must depend upon these programs.
Poverty focused foreign assistance is less than 1 percent of the federal budget, so cutting it would do little to reduce the deficit and much to worsen the plight of struggling women and children in developing countries. Cuts such as those being proposed, for example, would restrict our ability to respond to severe humanitarian emergencies, such as the ongoing famine in the Horn of Africa.
Humanitarian and poverty-focused foreign assistance is vital to global human security. It saves lives, helps prevent conflict, saves money, and lays the groundwork for economic growth. As Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has stated, helping countries develop "is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers."
Please protect families and children from cuts that cost lives, and support continued U.S foreign aid reform so that the world's most hungry people are the ones who actually benefit from our assistance.