If you missed the World Vision Advocacy Conference Call: Analysis of the President’s FY18 Proposed Budget earlier this week, you can listen to the recording below.
Recording Starts: Amanda Mootz, Advocacy Mobilization Specialist opens the call and introduces the issue — proposed cuts to U.S. foreign assistance; timestamp 04:10
- On March 16, the President submitted his proposed budget for FY18, including a 31 percent cut to the U.S. foreign assistance budget.
- U.S. foreign assistance programs are already less than 1% of the federal budget. This includes emergency relief for conflicts and disasters and includes long-term, sustainable development.
- Most of the U.S. foreign assistance budget goes to organizations like World Vision who are already working in these countries with communities — these cuts would significantly impact our work and the progress that has been made toward ending poverty.
- Now, Congress will work to finalize a budget for FY18 based off of the President’s proposal. So far, the support from our Congressional champions for U.S. foreign assistance has been encouraging.
Lisa Bos, Director of Government Relations gives the budget analysis for the President’s FY18 “skinny budget”; timestamp 09:55
- What came out last week is a “skinny budget,” which is 62 pages. The final budget is usually around 1,600 pages, so this truly is just a road map.
- About two pages of the proposed budget relate to U.S. foreign assistance. These pages indicate some of the general themes and cuts being proposed.
- There is talk of consolidation and reorganization of the State Department and USAID. This could be good or bad. We are hopeful that this is an opportunity for World Vision to share our expertise from the field to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these programs.
- Overall, we do not yet know which specific programs will be cut.
- Unfortunately, the cuts to U.S. foreign assistance are disproportionate in comparison to any other U.S. government agency.
- Overseas Contingency Operations — funding for humanitarian crises around the world such as refugees — are cut 37 percent.
- Base programs, such as funding for water, maternal and child health, climate, education, and more are cut 28 percent.
- The Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), working to prevent child labor, and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education, a school feeding program, are both zeroed out.
- Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance is zeroed out, which helps with resettlement. Although World Vision does not get funding from this, it will impact many of our partners.
- There are unspecified cuts to the United Nations, possibly including The World Food Program, which World Vision receives funding from.
- There is mention of maintaining the promises made to the HIV response under PEPFAR and the response to malaria prevention.
- Commitments are made to GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, which helps improve maternal and child health through immunization programs.
- Dedication is also made to maintaining support for the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Malaria, and Tuberculosis.
Christina Bradic, Communications Specialist shares what you have done in the last three weeks; timestamp 30:55
Thank YOU! Every email matters, even though it may seem like a small action to you. Because every message to Congress is recorded, the more they hear about one topic and realize its importance to their constituents, the more likely they are to support it.
- In just three weeks, we have had almost 6,300 emails sent to Congress (that is over 2,000 emails a week) and have contacted 93 percent of Congress!
- We are updating our email platform weekly so you can send something new to your members of Congress each week. For best practice. personalize any communication you have with your members of Congress by sharing why these issues matter to you.
- Many people are even making calls and sending tweets through our easy platform — you can too.
Amanda Mootz, Advocacy Mobilization Specialist provides next steps; timestamp 32:40
Many advocates have been taking the time to go deeper with their advocacy by not just sending emails, making calls, or tweeting, but by using local media to make their voices heard through letters to the editors and op-eds. This takes more time but gives you more bang for your buck, and we have been seeing a lot of success with our advocates! (Check-out one advocate’s recent success with this here.)
EVERY VOICE matters to help make sure Congress knows EVERY LIFE matters and that U.S. foreign assistance is a worthwhile 1% of our budget. Here are three things you can do to help get this message to Congress effectively:
- Submit a short letter to your newspaper’s opinion editor that advocates for U.S. foreign assistance and mentions your members of Congress by name. If you send us an email, we’ll send you a draft and a few simple steps — in less than 30 minutes you can personalize a few sentences and send it off. Your representatives will see it and take notice…it’s a powerful way to advocate without leaving your living room!
- Sign-up here to say, “Yes! Help me meet with my member of Congress in person!” Sound scary? We’ll talk you through each and every step with guides, tools, and one-on-one support. Advocates are taking the leap all around the country because they’ve discovered it’s the most effective — and rewarding — form of advocacy…and we make it easy! You can do this!
- Call and email…and ask your friends to call and email members of Congress. Use our simple forms to help communicate with your members of Congress. In less than one minute, you can help impact the futures of vulnerable children around the world – pretty cool, right?
Photo: The Capitol Building at night in Washington D.C. © 2017 World Vision/ photo by Garrett Hubbard