FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
BALTIMORE, Md, March 2, 2012–Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Catholic bishops are calling on Congress to protect povery-focused international humanitarian aid in the upcoming FY2013 federal budget, urging that legislators draw a “circle of protection” around the most vulnerable at home and abroad and the programs that serve them.
The letter from Bishop Richard J. Pates, who chairs the bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Carolyn Woo, president & CEO of CRS, noted that President Obama’s proposed budget would increase general international aid by 2.4 percent, but would cut poverty-focused programs that serve the world’s most vulnerable people.
“These programs advance solidarity with poorer nations and enhance global security,” they wrote. “They save lives by curing and preventing diseases, making farmers’ fields more productive, caring for orphans whose lives hang in the balance, feeding people victimized by natural and man-made disasters, and housing and caring for refugees.
“We urge you to increase funding to these programs because careless cuts cost lives,” they said.
Bishop Pates and Dr. Woo wrote that they are particularly concerned about proposed cuts to Migration and Refugee Assistance, HIV/AIDS and other health and nutrition programs, and International Disaster Assistance.
“While we appreciate our nation’s fiscal challenges, the current economic crisis disproportionately impacts the world’s poorest people,” they wrote. “Given inflation and high food prices, neither they nor we can afford cuts to these life-saving accounts.”