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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs