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.
TEXT SIZE - +
Tatiana Vorozhko
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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid