Congress Passes Appropriations Bill; Restores Funding for International Poverty-Focused Assistance

December 17, 2011 by

John Rivera
Catholic Relief Services
443-604-2018 (cell)

Baltimore, MD, December 17, 2011– Catholic Relief Services congratulates the Congress on protecting international poverty-focused humanitarian and disaster assistance in its final appropriations bill for FY 2012.

The bill mitigates deep cuts to these accounts last year, restoring them by approximately 3%, to a total of approximately $19 billion. Catholics from across the country joined Catholic Relief Services in an unprecedented effort to support the life-saving work of these international accounts.

“Leaders in Congress listened to their consciences and their constituents in this historic vote,” said Bill O’Keefe, Vice President for Advocacy of Catholic Relief Services.

“Even in difficult economic times, leaders in Congress, especially the State and Foreign Operations subcommittees in Congress– Rep. Granger, Rep. Lowey, Sen. Leahy and Sen. Graham –recognized the millions of lives saved and improved overseas with a mere 1% of the national budget,” he continued.

The funding supports life-saving programs such as providing food and shelter to victims of the drought in the Horn of Africa.  It also funds basic agriculture, water, and health programs that can lessen the effects of such disasters.  In addition, it supports migration and refugee assistance to those fleeing violence, oppression, and disasters.

“Congress heard loudly and clearly from many Americans who, while enduring a challenging economic time themselves, asserted that as a blessed nationAmericamust lead in responding to the neediest in the world,” O’Keefe said.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit or


  1. techwreck says:

    While I am a supporter of CRS, its calls for increased spending from the government are irresponsible and continue the policies that have wrecked our economy and are hurting the working class. It is easy to spend other people’s money and CRS and the USCCB have a record of supporting such expenditures by the government instead of starting programs that unleash the power of the Catholic laity.

    There is now no measurable Catholic Action involving the laity except lobbying Congress. I find it hard to believe that was what Christ had in mind in the sermon on the mount!

    • jrivera says:

      Hi there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. CRS and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) agree with your point about Catholic laity. We and other similar agencies program a significant amount of private monies overseas. Government involvement is important too, not only because it helps to pull governmental support behind our work, but also because it serves as a “good housekeeping” seal of approval for other interested donors. We are asking Congress that these programs that effectively serve the world’s poorest people not be disproportionately cut as we struggle to balance our budget and cut our national debt. These programs account for less than 1 percent of our federal budget, so they are not a significant factor in adding to the debt.

  2. Richard Cartwright says:

    Would it be possible to get a list of the organizations that you support or contribute to ? Thank you.

    • jrivera says:

      Hi Richard. The list of organizations we contribute to is listed on our Pro Forma 990, which you can read on our website here:

      Although CRS, as a religious organization, is not required to file a Form 990 to the IRS, we have posted it for informational purposes only in order to demonstrate our commitment to transparency.