Oxfam reaction to FY2011 US budget cuts

By Oxfam

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Washington, DC – The US Congress wraps up its negotiations on the FY2011 budget this week in Washington.

Paul O’Brien, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns for Oxfam America said:

“For decades our government has been a leader in development assistance, working to help poor people pull themselves out of poverty. While the budget cuts announced this week by Congress are not as painful as those previously considered, they will still hamper the progress we are achieving in developing countries and decrease US influence abroad.

“If the US government is asking poor people to do more with less, then they should instead be aggressively supporting those efforts, like USAID Forward and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, that are effectively fighting poverty for good. Cutting USAID’s operating expenses by $41 million and cutting Feed the Future’s legs before it gets really started will only hamstring these successful programs. Cutting the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s budget to less than a billion dollars will render the MCC’s goals of rewarding good governance, economic freedom and investments in people meaningless. Reforms to ensure that overseas development programs are effective will soften the blow of some cuts on the most vulnerable communities.

“As Congress ties off the FY2011 budget and moves into negotiations for FY2012, we urge members to not target some of the nation’s best global development programs for fighting poverty with deeper cuts. These cuts undermine our ability to assist developing countries in building resilience for extreme weather events and a changing climate. Programs that save lives, reduce the threat of disease, help to open new markets for US goods and services, and protect our nation’s borders at a lower cost to the US taxpayer than using the military in disaster response.”