Congress Rejects Historic Proposed Cuts to Foreign Aid

Washington, D.C. (March 23, 2018) – Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) today applauded Congress for sustaining and in some cases increasing funding for poverty-focused development, global health, and humanitarian relief accounts in the final fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill signed by President Trump this afternoon.

Congress rejected the deep, disproportionate cuts to life-saving programs proposed for fiscal year 2018 by the Administration. It’s critical that this step toward ensuring American leadership in helping people caught up in escalating humanitarian crises around the world and leveraging development opportunities be strengthened in fiscal year 2019 and beyond.

“This bill sends a strong, bipartisan message that the U.S. must continue to engage in the world through both development and diplomacy. These are effective programs that save lives and make our nation stronger,” said Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. “At a time of tremendous need around the world, we thank Congressional champions for their efforts to ensure sustained funding for development, global health, and humanitarian assistance programs.”

The $54 billion allocation for international assistance is an increase over fiscal year 2017’s original funding level for the Department of State, USAID, and related programs. In addition, Congress shifted a portion of overseas contingency operations funding to base funding for foreign aid – a crucial step signaling budgetary responsibility for critical humanitarian programs. Congressional and civil society engagement in the strategic transitions process also remains important in the coming year.

Kris Perry, president of SCAN, said she is grateful that Congress prioritized children in the spending bill.

“The increase in funding for programs that support the health of mothers and children around the world will help save lives,” she said. “This keeps the U.S. as a key partner in helping to end preventable child and maternal deaths within a generation. We urge Congress to continue to support strong funding levels for these programs in fiscal year 2019.”

Miles said the bill supports U.S. leadership toward building long-term, sustainable systems through basic education, international agricultural programs, women and girls and other such programs that help build a country’s capacity.

“We applaud Congress for providing critical humanitarian assistance at a time when 80 million people worldwide are in need of emergency food assistance,” said Miles. “At less than 1 percent of the federal budget, dollar for dollar, foreign assistance is one of the most effective uses of our taxes.”

Highlights from the just-passed omnibus include:

  • Maternal and Child Health – $829.5 million, an increase of $15 million from FY2017 final enacted, including $290 million, an increase of $15 million from FY2017 final enacted, for Gavi, a global vaccine alliance helping to provide low-cost immunizations for those in greatest need.
  • Nutrition – $125 million, level funding from FY2017 final enacted
  • International Disaster Assistance – $4.285 billion, a decrease of $140.68 million from FY17 final enacted (which included $990 million in supplemental funding for famine relief and response)
  • Migration and Refugee Assistance – $3.359 billion, level funding from FY2017 final enacted
  • Food for Peace – $1.716 billion, an increase of $116 million from FY17 final enacted
  • Feed the Future – $1 billion, level funding from FY2017 final enacted
  • Basic Education – $800 million, level funding from FY2017 final enacted
  • McGovern-Dole School International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program – $207.6 million, an increase of $6 million from FY17 final enacted
  • USAID Operating Expenses – $1.347 billion, a decrease of $14 million from FY17 final enacted

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