Save the Children Condemns President's Proposed Deep Cuts to Foreign Aid for Third Consecutive Year

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2019) — Save the Children condemns the president’s third consecutive budget request seeking to make deep cuts to  international development, diplomatic, and humanitarian assistance. The fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget request proposes a 24 percent cut to the International Affairs Budget, which, if enacted, would have disastrous impacts on the health, education, and safety of children and families abroad. Cuts to these programs could mean more children going hungry, fewer children receiving quality education, more children at risk in fragile and conflict-affected states, and fewer opportunities for promoting global gender equality and empowering women and girls.

“For the third year in a row, the administration’s budget proposal fails children living in the world’s most challenging circumstances. Too many – roughly one in five children – are in harm’s way because of conflict, and too many girls are being left behind and denied access to education and opportunity on the basis of gender,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. “At a time of pressing need, this budget request ignores children’s basic right to access health, education, and protection. As a global leader, the U.S. has a responsibility to ensure children have the future they deserve.”

In the budget request, USAID presents a plan to make aid more effective and foster partner country self-reliance. Save the Children welcomes an emphasis on increased investment in domestic resource mobilization, which would support countries’ efforts to finance their development priorities, and urges close partnership with civil society. Yet, the proposed budget does not provide USAID with sufficient operating expenses to successfully carry out its agency-wide transformation, which if implemented effectively, could result in a number of significant aid reforms and support the goal of aiding partner countries on their journey to self-reliance.

Additionally, Save the Children is concerned by the administration’s proposal to merge existing humanitarian accounts and to shift the State Department’s humanitarian programs to USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Such reforms could even risk undermining the U.S.’s ability to reach children in humanitarian crises. At the same time, this proposal shortchanges these programs with drastic funding cuts of more than $3 billion compared to FY2019 final enacted levels.

Several of the proposed budget cuts target programs that not only are critical to helping the most vulnerable children and families around the world, but have enjoyed strong bipartisan congressional support. Some examples include the following proposed cuts relative to the fiscal year 2019 final enacted levels:

  • 49 percent cut to International Basic Education
  • 26 percent cut to Maternal and Child Health
  • 34 percent cut to international humanitarian assistance programs, like International Disaster Assistance, Migration and Refugee Assistance, and Food for Peace Title II
  • 51 percent cut to food security and agriculture assistance, previously called Feed the Future
  • Eliminates McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program, an international school feeding program
  • 7 percent cut to USAID Operating Expenses

Save the Children appreciates Congress’s long-standing bipartisan support for programs that help ensure children have the future they deserve and will work with Congress to reject proposed cuts.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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