FY2018 Foreign Assistance Budget NGO Coalition Letter

February 6, 2017

The Honorable Bernard Sanders
Ranking Member
Committee on the Budget
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Michael Enzi
Committee on the Budget
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable John Yarmuth
Ranking Member
Committee on the Budget
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Diane Black
Interim Chairman
Committee on the Budget
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515 

Dear Chairman Enzi, Ranking Member Sanders, Interim Chairman Black, and Ranking Member Yarmuth:

As you look to develop the FY2018 budget resolution, we urge you to protect international lifesaving humanitarian assistance, peace-building, and poverty-focused health and development programs in the Function 150 account by funding it at no less than $60 billion. Although this account represents only 1.4% of the federal budget, it is critical to saving millions of lives and advances U.S. interests overseas.

While we recognize the extremely difficult budget climate, the base International Affairs Budget has been cut drastically (30% adjusted for inflation) since FY2010, with an increasing reliance on the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to fund long-term peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance programs. In fact, over 70% of two core humanitarian accounts—the International Disaster Assistance and Migration and Refugee Assistance Account—are funded through OCO. These two accounts alone are central to our nation’s humanitarian response in countries like Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, and – most recently – northern Nigeria. While we appreciate the difficult decisions you must make in regard to the budget, including how to reconcile various views on OCO, we strongly urge you to protect and maintain total funding for the International Affairs Budget, within which these programs are funded. Cuts to this budget would require the United States to end vital assistance in some of the world’s toughest places.

Through U.S. efforts to combat poverty and disease around the globe, we have made incredible strides in the last two decades to help people improve their lives and create a more stable, prosperous, and peaceful world. The number of chronically hungry people in the world has nearly been cut in half. Over 41 million students have directly benefited from USAID basic education programs. Almost 11.5 million people receive lifesaving antiretroviral treatment due to PEPFAR programming, with an additional 9.2 million receiving such treatment from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Since 2008, USAID has saved the lives of 4.6 million children and 200,000 mothers by scaling up proven health interventions. Some 87% of the world’s population has access to safe, affordable, and sustainable drinking water and 61% has access to improved sanitation. Throughout this period, the U.S. has played a critical leadership role in providing humanitarian relief and galvanizing other donor contributions. Humanitarian and development programs alleviate extreme poverty and save lives. U.S. foreign assistance, including Democracy Rights and Governance programming, demonstrates the best of America – the generosity of its people – and engenders goodwill around the world.

Thanks to critical reforms, this work has only become more efficient and effective. Most notably, USAID Forward has successfully improved USAID’s oversight of its programs which are now more transparent, accountable, and results-driven, and evaluation findings are used to inform agency budget decisions. Since the introduction of the Global Development Alliance 15 years ago, the private sector and NGOs have leveraged $20 billion of U.S. investments with their own resources to expand the reach of programs. There is a reason that U.S. military leaders are now among the strongest advocates for a robust USAID: the expertise of USAID fulfills a need that our military cannot.

Yet need has far outpaced assistance in recent years, driven largely by the crisis in Syria. The world is currently witnessing the greatest population displacement in recorded history, with 66 million people displaced worldwide at the end of 2016, the majority due to conflict. Further, each day 16,000 children die from preventable causes (nearly 6 million annually), and 263 million children and youth are out of school, including 61 million of primary school age. While the U.S. cannot respond to these crises alone, it cannot be overstated that our leadership and the resources we put forward to alleviate suffering galvanizes the world community to respond.

Now is the time for Congress to reinforce the United States’ global commitments, responsibilities, and leadership. Millions of Americans give from their own pocketbooks every week to support those suffering overseas; the U.S. government stretches those dollars and builds upon the efforts of countless individuals to live out our values and faith. Given the strong practical and moral arguments for investing in our international development, humanitarian, and multilateral programs, the Budget Committee is uniquely positioned to protect U.S. leadership in this area and ensure the resources necessary to respond to these challenges.

As you prepare the FY2018 budget we urge you to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that protects the lifesaving humanitarian assistance, peace-building, and poverty-focused development programs in the Function 150 accounts by funding them at no less than $60 billion.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.


1. Lucy Martinez Sullivan, Executive Director, 1,000 Days
2. William M. Polidoro, President and CEO, ACDI/VOCA
3. Andrea Tamburini, CEO, Action Against Hunger
4. Degan Ali, Executive Director, Adeso
5. Jonathan Duffy, President, ADRA International
6. Aleem Walji, CEO, Aga Khan Foundation USA
7. Steven Smith, Executive Director, Airlink
8. Rebecca Middleton, Executive Director, Alliance to End Hunger
9. Fernando Stein, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
10. David Meltzer, General Counsel and Chief International Officer, American Red Cross
11. Robert Kelty, Executive Director, Amref Health Africa USA
12. Peter Sage, Executive Director, AMURT
13. Ezio Castelli, President, AVSI USA
14. Suleiman Alghanem, Executive Director, Baitulmaal
15. John Gillies, Co-Chair, Basic Education Coalition
16. Dan Stoner, Co-Chair, Basic Education Coalition
17. William Blacquiere, President and CEO, Bethany Christian Services
18. Dr. Han Huang, CEO, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
19. Elizabeth Hausler, CEO and Founder, Build Change
20. Michelle Nunn, CEO, CARE USA
21. Sean Callahan, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services
22. Serra Sippel, President, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE)
23. Anne Lynam Goddard, President and CEO, ChildFund International
24. Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO, Church World Service
25. Shannon Maynard, Executive Director, Congressional Hunger Center
26. William J. Kruvant, President, Creative Learning, Inc.
27. Fraser Mooney, Executive Director, Doctors of the World USA
28. Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., President, ECDC
29. David G. Offensend, President and CEO, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)
30. Robert W. Radtke, President, Episcopal Relief & Development
31. Travis Arnold, Executive Director, Feed the Children
32. Chris Collins, President, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
33. Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church
34. Sean Lawrence, Executive Director, Giving Children Hope
35. Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary, Global Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Committee on Relief
36. Jennifer Rigg, Executive Director, Global Campaign for Education - US
37. David A. Weiss, President and CEO, Global Communities
38. Loyce Pace, MPH, President and Executive Director, Global Health Council
39. Kathleen Hower, CEO, Co-Founder, Global Links
40. Jeff Meer, Executive Director, Handicap International
41. James Mitchum, CEO, Heart to Heart International
42. Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO, Heifer International
43. Kathy Spahn, President and CEO, Helen Keller International
44. Kate Bunting, CEO, HelpAge USA
45. Job C. Heintz, CEO, Himalayan Cataract Project
46. Edward Carr, Director, IDCE, Clark University
47. Judith Hermanson, CEO, IHC Global
48. Richard Santos, President and CEO, IMA World Health
49. William Barron, CEO, iMMAP
50. Linda Pfeiffer, Ph.D., President and CEO, INMED Partnerships for Children
51. Tom Dente, President and CEO, Inside NGO
52. Sam Worthington, CEO, InterAction
53. Douglas Rutzen, President and CEO, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
54. Azzedine Downes, President and CEO, International Fund for Animal Welfare
55. Nancy A. Aossey, President and CEO, International Medical Corps
56. Constantine M. Triantafilou, Executive Director and CEO, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
57. David Milliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee
58. Julie Gilbert Rosicky, Executive Director, International Social Service - USA
59. William S. Reese, President and CEO, International Youth Foundation
60. Pape Gaye, President and CEO, IntraHealth International
61. Anwar Khan, CEO, Islamic Relief USA
62. Rev. Leo O'Donovan, S.J., Interim National Director, Jesuit Refugee Service / USA
63. Charles J. Hooker, III, President and CEO, Keystone Human Services International
64. Chris Proulx, CEO, LINGOs
65. Amb. Daniel V. Speckhard, President and CEO, Lutheran World Relief
66. J. Ron Byler, Executive Director, Mennonite Central Committee U.S.
67. Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO, Mercy Corps
68. Umar al-Qadi, President and CEO, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development
69. Rafael Callejas, Executive Director, Millennium Water Alliance
70. Judy Ziewacz, President and CEO, NCBA CLUSA
71. Dr. Charles Benjamin, President, Near East Foundation
72. Joel R. Charny, Director, Norwegian Refugee Council USA
73. Tom Hart, North American Executive Director, ONE
74. Raymond C. Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America
75. Suzanne Ehlers, President and CEO, PAI
76. Steve Davis, President and CEO, PATH
77. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO, Plan International USA
78. Ester Neltrup, President and CEO, Planet Aid
79. Bob Gillespie, President, Population Communication
80. Meg Sagaria-Barritt, Interim Executive Director, Posner Center for International Development
81. Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness, Director, Compassion, Peace and Justice Presbyterian Mission Agency, Presbyterian Church (USA)
82. W. Douglas Jackson, Ph.D., JD, President and CEO, Project C.U.R.E.
83. Mark O'Donnell, Interim President and CEO, Project Concern International (PCI)
84. Thomas Kenyon, MD, MPH, President and CEO, Project Hope
85. Robert K. Musil, Ph.D., MPH, President and CEO, Rachel Carson Council
86. Michel Gabaudan, President, Refugees International
87. Nancy Wilson, President and CEO, Relief International
88. Jeff Whisenant, President and CEO, ReSurge International
89. Rod Brooks, President and CEO, Rise Against Hunger
90. Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children
91. Shawna Bader-Blau, Executive Director, Solidarity Center
92. Mishelle Rudzinski, MA CCC-SLP, Co-Founder and Executive Director, SPOON Foundation
93. Majd Isreb, MD, FACP, FASN, Chairman, Syrian American Medical Society Foundation
94. Åsa Skogström Feldt, President and CEO, The Hunger Project
95. Bill Abrams, President, Trickle Up
96. Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO, USA for UNHCR
97. Michael Deal, President and CEO, Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA)
98. Lynn Malooly, Executive Director, Water for South Sudan
99. Sarina Prabasi, CEO, WaterAid
100. Diana DuBois, Executive Director, WellShare International
101. Emily Bove, Executive Director, Women Thrive Alliance
102. Sarah Costa, Executive Director, Women's Refugee Commission
103. Jacinta Tegman, President, World Concern
104. John Lyon, President, World Hope International
105. Anita Aaron, Executive Director and CEO, World Institute on Disability
106. Kate Schecter, Ph.D., President and CEO, World Neighbors
107. Rich Stearns, President, World Vision U.S.
108. Dr. Jane Aronson, CEO, President and Founder, Worldwide Orphans
109. Halil Demir, Executive Director, Zakat Foundation of America

Cc: OMB Director Designate Mick Mulvaney