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Bipartisan Support For Foreign Assistance Improves, Saves Lives Abroad

Briefly recapping a history of foreign aid policy since 1920, former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) write in a Politico opinion piece, “Credit for America’s global leadership role belongs to both major political parties and Americans of all stripes” who “have always been guided by the notion that all lives have equal value, regardless of where someone was born.” Because of the current economic recession, “[w]e understand that there might be temptation to cut back on U.S. humanitarian programs and investments abroad,” they write, continuing, “However, the cost of cutting back on such programs is not worth it,” as such cuts would amount to less than one percent of the federal budget, “affect too many peoples’ lives and damage American economic and national security interests at a time our world is more interconnected than ever.”

Lincoln and Huckabee provide examples of how “this relatively small amount” of funding is “literally saving millions of lives and improving the lives of many more millions of people,” by delivering vaccines, insecticide-treated bed nets, and antiretroviral medicine to people in need worldwide. They continue, “A healthier, less impoverished planet is good for all of us” because it improves economic markets and production, and “[f]rom a security perspective, the fight against extreme poverty is one of the best ways to tackle the root causes of instability, violence, and war.” Lincoln and Huckabee conclude, “One thing all Americans can agree on — even in the midst of this rancorous campaign season — is that we are at our very best as a nation when we offer a helping hand to support others in need” (10/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.