President's Proposed Budget Cuts Will be Catastrophic to Future of Mothers and Children in the U.S., Abroad
Washington, D.C. (March 16, 2017) — Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) today announced their strong opposition to the president’s proposed massive budget cuts to international development, humanitarian assistance and domestic programs that will have disastrous impacts on the health, education and safety of mothers and children at home and abroad.
The administration’s budget proposal cuts development, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance by roughly a third. Cuts to the international affairs budget deeply impact mothers and children around the world, including in fragile and conflict-affected states.
"Health, nutrition, education and other programs help children, reduce poverty, create stronger communities and build goodwill for the United States," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. "At a time of famine in parts of Africa and continued conflict in the Middle East, the international affairs budget must keep pace with these growing needs for American leadership and assistance."
The proposed budget eliminates the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which supports education, child development and food security in low-income countries. Eliminating this program denies 3 million children, nearly half of whom are girls, access to nutrition during the school day, which affects school attendance and learning. In addition, the budget eliminates the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account, which ensures that the U.S. is ready to assist in times of unanticipated and urgent humanitarian crises.
Save the Children and SCAN are also concerned that the budget proposal calls for a “reorganization and consolidation” of the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Each entity serves a distinct purpose: USAID, as the United States’ lead development agency, specializes in the longer-term, critical task of helping countries to govern themselves well and promote access to economic opportunity through investments in things such as health and education. The State Department rightly focuses on America's diplomatic needs; countries, threats and crises that are of immediate importance to the United States.
"These cuts will be catastrophic for millions of families in developing countries," said Miles. "U.S. funding for maternal and child health, for instance, has helped reduce child deaths by more than one-half over the last two decades, saving millions of lives. Additionally, our investments in education have helped empower millions of girls to become leaders and lift themselves and their families out of poverty. These investments work, and as many of our country's military leaders are telling us, it is neither right nor smart to turn away from the rest of the world."
In addition to cuts to development assistance and humanitarian relief programs, the president’s proposed budget eliminates funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, putting children, especially in rural communities, at great risk. Children in Save the Children's afterschool programs are making important literacy gains – the equivalent of 7.6 months of additional schooling in the state of Kentucky alone.
Additionally, the budget slashes funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency that supports high-quality early learning programs like Head Start, by 18 percent. This could lead to fewer low-income children having access to the program.
"We must protect Head Start's funding in order to ensure kids across the country can continue to receive a high-quality early education and strong start in life," said Mark Shriver, president of SCAN.
According to a new poll commissioned by SCAN, nearly 80 percent of respondents, including 79 percent of self-identified Trump voters, support Head Start. Among all Republicans and those who voted for President Trump, 75 percent want to increase (23 percent) or maintain funding (52 percent) for to the program.
"There is overwhelming bipartisan support for Head Start across the country," said Shriver. "In fact, 50 percent of Trump voters said they would be less likely to vote for their member of Congress if they voted to eliminate Head Start. I urge Congress to prioritize funding for high-quality early learning and child care programs that reach kids living in poverty during the most critical stages of their development."
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