In reaction to the House of Representatives and the Senate passing a combined government funding and tax relief package today, including a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government until Sept. 30, 2016, Paul O’Brien, Vice President for Policy and Campaigns made the following statement:
“Oxfam is pleased that the Omnibus legislation does not have the pernicious riders that would hinder the necessary resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing violence and persecution. After nearly five years of conflict, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and millions of Syrians have been displaced in the Middle East. Syrians need our support now more than ever. Continued financial support for Syrians affected by this conflict and support to resettle those who can never go home speaks to the very best of American tradition and values. Continuing the resettlement program will uphold the longstanding legacy we have of welcoming people in their time of need while also ensuring that national security concerns are addressed.
“Today, Congress also paved the way for the US to deliver a lifeline to poor and vulnerable communities suffering from the worst impacts of climate change. Oxfam applauds the bipartisan leadership in support of the Green Climate Fund led by Democratic Senator Merkley (D-OR) and Republican Senators Kirk (R-IL) and Collins (R-ME).
‘This is not only a huge win for the poor who are on the frontlines of climate change, but also the Administration, which last week achieved a historic international climate agreement in Paris and is now delivering on the first installment of the President’s pledge to poor communities as they build low-carbon, climate resilient economies.
“While the total funding for the Green Climate Fund is just a small fraction of the entire US budget, it’s enough to provide millions of people access to crucial agricultural and irrigation resources, renewable energy technology, and early warning weather systems.
“But Congress will need to continue to appropriate funds on an annual basis for those on the frontlines of climate change. As three out of four weather disasters taking place are now climate related, we need to continue to hold our elected officials accountable to uphold our American leadership and values around the world.
"On the broader issue of foreign aid, we are glad that Congress continued to support ongoing efforts to make foreign aid more effective and efficient. And Oxfam welcomes the common sense reforms in the Omnibus that will make the IMF more fit for our new world order at no cost to the US.”
“Lastly, we commend the measures to promote greater transparency of corporate ownership through International Financial Institutions. The US should require corporate ownership transparency of all companies winning contracts funded by the US government. This should set the stage for Congress to follow its own transparency standards by passing legislation requiring all US companies to disclose their beneficial owners.”