Letter: Congress should oppose cuts to foreign aid

From: Gene Arnholt


The White House recently released its proposed budget for 2018. It would slash our global anti-poverty aid programs by about 30 percent.

Foreign aid already amounts to less than 1 percent of the federal budget. We give only 0.16 of our national income to development assistance, a lower percentage than 20 other countries. Nevertheless, the sheer size of our economy has made us the largest donor and a beacon of hope for millions. U.S. aid has played a crucial role in reducing the number of children under 5 who die each day, from 12.6 million in 1990 to 5.9 million in 2015.

If we were to begin contributing our fair share, we could help save the 16,000 children who still die each day, mostly from treatable causes like diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Likewise, while our aid has helped cut the number of children not receiving an education, 263 million young people who should be in school still aren’t, largely for financial reasons.

Countries unable to afford the education or even survival of their children cannot be the strong, stable trading partners and allies we need in our troubled time. Every member of Congress should vigorously oppose these proposed cuts.