As Budget Debate Continues, Organization Urges Congress to Invest in, Not Cut, Programs Benefitting Children at Home and Around the World
Tanya Weinberg 202.640.6647 (O), 202.247.6610 (M)
WASHINGTON, D.C (April 10, 2013) — Save the Children welcomes President Obama's budget, which balances strategic investments with fiscal discipline and key reforms. This approach will be essential as the budget process moves forward, the development and humanitarian organization said.
"There are some real bright spots in the president's budget. We see smart investments in early learning for kids in America and in health for kids around the world that will pay off in the long term. But there's a real risk that the budget cuts of the last three years — if they continue — will erode the overall safety net for kids and families. And quite frankly, as the budget debate moves to Congress, we're concerned," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children.
"As Americans, we need to speak up more for these programs. We need to be the voice for kids and protect effective, proven programs that will give children everywhere a brighter future and pay for themselves in the long run," she said.
Save the Children, while applauding the request, expressed grave concern that as the budget process moves forward, sequestration could bring continued cuts to lifesaving programs around the world. This would essentially balancing the budget on the backs of poor children, Save the Children warned. International affairs funding represents only about 1 percent of the federal budget.
But, the organization noted, these critical investments in a more stable and prosperous world have already been cut by 19 percent from Fiscal Year 2010 levels, when excluding war-related expenses.
The Fiscal Year 2014 budget flat lines this spending from current year's enacted levels. Further cuts would jeopardize a number of important investments the president has put forth in his budget request.
Save the Children applauds the President's consistent commitment to maintaining robust investments in Global Health overall, and specifically for Maternal and Child Health, which are essential to meeting his bold goal from the State of the Union of ending preventable child deaths within a generation. In one of the greatest global health success stories, the world has lowered child mortality by more than 40 percent since 1990. But nearly 20,000 children under 5 still die every day, mostly of preventable causes. Investments in global maternal and child health and nutrition programs directly impact the most vulnerable victims of poverty and instability.
Save the Children also commended the President's continued commitment to tackle global hunger and malnutrition through Feed the Future, the 1,000 Days initiative and other programs. The organization welcomed the President's bold efforts to reform international food assistance.
"Especially in these tight times, we need to ensure that we're reaching as many vulnerable kids as possible with effective programs that fight hunger and malnutrition," said Miles. "The President's proposed food aid reforms have the potential to help us reach even more children in need by making U.S. international food assistance more flexible, timely and cost-effective."
"U.S. humanitarian and development programs have a huge impact on kids' lives around the world, but a negligible impact on the overall budget. We need to protect these small but essential investments", said Miles.
Save the Children was encouraged by the US Government's continuing commitment to the Syria crisis and the vital contribution of $385 million to humanitarian assistance. "The US Government's leadership of international efforts to bring an end to the suffering of children and their families during the Syrian crisis greatly appreciated," said Miles.
The investments in the president's budget clearly recognize the important role foreign assistance plays in advancing U.S. national security and economic interests. Currently, roughly half of US exports go to developing countries.
U.S. Domestic Programs
Save the Children commended the president's budget for demonstrating a powerful commitment to building a bright future for American children. In his domestic budget, the president continued his commitment to ensuring access to quality education for all children by proposing a new, $750 million early education initiative.
In addition, President Obama has kept his promise in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown on improving security in schools with a $112 million proposal to help develop and implement quality emergency preparedness plans. It also includes a new investment of $130 million to help recognize signs of mental illness in young people by providing needed services, such as counseling; to improve mental health services for people ages 16-25; and to train 5,000 more mental health professionals with a focus on serving students and young adults.
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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