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Opinions: Foreign Aid Budget Cuts Would Negatively Affect Food, Global Health

Obama Administration Must Not Accept Budget Cuts To Global Agriculture

The “hard truth is that if the United States doesn’t keep its word” on a pledge to deliver $3.5 billion to the G20’s $22 billion food security initiative for “vulnerable” developing countries, “no one else will,” a New York Times editorial states. 

The United States has “delivered only $66.6 million” to the World Bank fund established to administer the G20 effort, which has received at total of less than $400 million, according to the editorial. The Obama administration “is now asking for $408 million for the fund – part of a $1.64 billion request for its Feed the Future initiative, which aims to bolster poor countries’ food production capabilities. Congressional Republicans are determined to hack as much as they can out of foreign aid. The continuing resolution passed by the House cuts $800 million out of the food aid budget – bringing it down to about $1 billion, roughly where it was in 2001,” according to the editorial.

“The White House needs to push back hard. This isn’t a question of charity. It is an issue of life or death for millions of people,” the editorial concludes (2/24).

Ros-Lehtinen, Granger Should Read Book Highlighting Effective Use Of Foreign Aid

In a Miller-McCune opinion piece, Editor-In-Chief John Mecklin says that Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the House Foreign Affairs Committee chair, and Kay Granger (R-Texas), who is aiming to become chair of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, would benefit from reading Dean Karlan’s book, More Than Good Intentions, “a sprightly read that offers many eye-opening, real-world examples of how international development aid can actually work.”

The book attempts “to find a middle way between continuing to invest billions of dollars in aid programs with long, sad histories of accomplishing little and giving up on development aid as inherently ineffective,” Mecklin says, adding that it “seethes with the scientific rigor and fact-based optimism that ought to exemplify American foreign aid. And the behavioral economics tweaks it describes should be of at least passing interest to conservatives looking for results with limited government intervention, not just in foreign aid but across the gamut of domestic social programs that might be made more effective through scientific testing and the occasional, well-placed nudge” (2/23).

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