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World Relief Responds to Administration’s Proposed Budget Cuts to Humanitarian Assistance Programs

March 12, 2019                                                                                          

Lauren Carl

World Relief Responds to Administration’s Proposed Budget Cuts to Humanitarian Assistance Programs

Baltimore, Md. – Yesterday, President Trump announced his proposed 2020 budget, including significant cuts to federal spending for a variety of critical humanitarian assistance programs. World Relief expresses concern over the impact that the proposed 24 percent cut to international affairs will have on programs serving the most vulnerable across the globe.

World Relief President Scott Arbeiter commented, “The U.S. has stood as an example of generosity for countries around the world for decades. If we shut our doors to assisting the vulnerable, others will follow suit. World Relief is deeply concerned by the proposed budget cuts, their potential impact on people who live in some of the most impoverished places around the world, and what it means for our legacy of generosity as a nation. At a time when we’re seeing more displaced persons in recorded history, and as women and children in particular bear the brunt of violence and conflict around the world, we must do all that we can to alleviate poverty and suffering.”

The proposed budget comes with a reduction of $2.5 billion to USAID and the State Department. Critical humanitarian interventions including funding to support maternal child health and to fight HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR would be reduced by 26 percent and 29 percent respectively.

World Relief believes that these humanitarian assistance and development programs are life-saving interventions that are critically needed in some of the most conflict-ridden places on earth. Funding for international disaster assistance is a key component to prevent people from becoming refugees and enables the U.S. to respond quickly to complex humanitarian needs in areas like Iraq, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.

Specifically, World Relief supports funding levels for FY 2020 as follows:

  • $2.67 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Refugee and Entrant Assistance (REA) account

  • $3.604 billion for the Department of State’s Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account

  • $1 million for the Department of State’s Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) account

  • $4.5 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account

  • $5.85 billion for HIV/AIDS State and USAID

  • $900 million for maternal and child health

World Relief also urges Congress to maintain the Department of State’s Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account within the Department of State rather than the proposed consolidation of MRA with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Providing the State Department the critical tools needed to provide assistance to displaced persons in connection with their diplomacy has proven effective in ameliorating some of the most complicated, humanitarian crises around the world and maximizing refugee protection.

 “The U.S. plays an important role in setting the tone for the rest of the world, with our humanitarian assistance funds constituting less than 1 percent of the entire U.S. budget,” commented World Relief CEO Tim Breene. “By abdicating our place as a leader in resettling refugees and being a mitigating presence in times of disaster, the U.S. leaves a void that cannot easily be filled. We urge Congress to continue to fund at robust levels U.S. humanitarian assistance to meet needs around the world.”

Download the PDF version of this press release.


About World Relief:

World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that seeks to overcome violence, poverty and injustice. Through love in action, we bring hope, healing and restoration to millions of the world’s most vulnerable women, men and children through vital and sustainable programs in disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding, as well as refugee and immigration services in the U.S. For 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and communities, currently across more than 20 countries, to provide relief from suffering and help people rebuild their lives.

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