News / USA

Budget Cuts Hit US Foreign Aid Programs

Budget Cuts Hit US Foreign Aid Programsi
X
April 03, 2013 4:17 PM
The mandatory U.S. federal budget cuts that recently went into effect -- known as "sequestration" -- are affecting more than the government's domestic programs. The 85-billion-dollar across-the-board cuts are also taking their bite out of international aid and development efforts. But as Tatiana Vorozhko of VOA's Ukrainian Service reports, despite the challenges and the rhetoric, many feel the future of international aid is still optimistic. Amy Katz narrates her report.
The mandatory U.S. federal budget cuts that recently went into effect -- known as "sequestration" -- are affecting more than the government's domestic programs.  The $85 billion across-the-board cuts are also taking their bite out of international aid and development efforts.  Despite the challenges and the rhetoric, many feel the future of international aid is still optimistic.

Mandatory federal cuts

Like other federal agencies, the U. S. Agency for International Development has to cut its budget as a result of sequestration. The four-percent USAID must cut will reduce its foreign assistance, but many ongoing projects will not be affected immediately since USAID provides funding up to two years in advance.

Even if the budget cuts for USAID and other U.S. aid and development programs remain small, they will affect the health and the lives of real people, says George Ingram of the Brookings Institution.

"The area that will be impacted the most is health, and that because it is the biggest part of the development budget. And the cuts that will be taken on health are almost $400 million, which is a large amount of money,' Ingram explained. The second is humanitarian assistance, which will be cut by about $200 million.  Both cases are very serious hits because in both of these accounts we are talking about life and death situations."

International programs dependent on US aid

Raj Kumar is President of Devex, an organization that researches and reports on international aid.  He thinks that people with HIV-AIDS might suffer the most. "We are in a world with 30 million people living with HIV, for example. Many of them are dependent on US foreign assistance," he said.

One bright spot in the aid picture is the increasing role of private philanthropies, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

And corporations are also becoming involved in development -- in communities where they do business and want people to be able to afford their products.

Still, these efforts can not close the entire gap in aid provided by the US government -- especially in the area of health and disaster assistance.
 
"The private sector is not going step in and provide the medical care, the food, the water that is required when you have humanitarian crisis," noted Ingram.  

While many Americans criticize foreign aid, the public actually supports many of its goals.
                
"The American people are very strongly supportive of helping other countries with their health problems, with education, with microenterprise, with promoting democracy, with promoting economic growth. Americans don`t like foreign aid but they seem to support all of the elements of it," added Ingram.

"The people who are very supportive of national security, traditionally more conservative candidates, Republican candidates, have come on board with foreign assistance because they see it as a part of broader national security, antiterrorism strategy," said Kumar.

And while foreign aid is a popular punching bag in political debates, it actually accounts for no more than 1 percent of the entire US budget.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More