Oxfam's reaction to the president's budget proposal

By Oxfam

Washington, DC  – President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request demonstrates the US resolve in fighting global poverty in this tough fiscal environment, but the scale of US response is still outpaced by the scale of the problem, said Oxfam America. Two billion people live in poverty, struggling to survive on less than $2 per day according to the international humanitarian and development organization.

“Today, President Obama signaled his Administration’s continued commitment to fighting poverty and injustice around the world, and reforming the US foreign aid system so that it can more efficiently manage our global aid dollars,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America.  “The President’s budget request outlines the hard choices the US government needed to make in this tight financial climate. The good news is that for the first time in years, these tough decisions are being driven by a coherent US strategy for fighting global poverty, as outlined in the presidential policy for global development.”

Poverty focused aid is less than 1 percent of the federal budget. This funding is vital to demonstrating our humanitarian values, protecting our national security and strengthening the global economy. When development works well, responsible states become increasingly less reliant on aid as a source of revenue, and beneficiaries of aid lead healthier, more secure and stable lives. 

“The FY12 budget request would continue reforms, begun under President George W. Bush, meant to ensure that US development assistance achieves real results in reducing global poverty and human suffering,” said Offenheiser. “Defunding aid has minimal cost-savings, puts the livelihoods of poor people at further risk and will cost the US more in the long term because it breeds conflict and instability. Congress at a minimum needs to fully fund the President’s request.”

“President Obama, in his first term as president, has made great strides in strengthening the effectiveness and accountability of US investments to fight global poverty,” continued Offenheiser. “From the first-ever announcement of a US Global Development Policy to the far-reaching internal reforms within USAID through USAID Forward, the Administration recognizes the long-term value of putting poor people in charge of their own development agendas.”

Oxfam America urges members of Congress to not turn their backs on the world’s poorest people. It is now Congress’ turn during the deliberation process to ensure that these advancements are sustained and carried forward. Deeper cuts than those presented in the President's budget will have no impact in reducing the US deficit overall and will only add more hardship to the lives of those poor people we are trying to help.

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