1,000 Days is deeply troubled by the Trump Administration’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, which, through drastic cuts to lifesaving foreign assistance programs, would hurt the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. These cuts come at a time when the world is facing a vast crisis of malnutrition and famine that is taking the lives of young children each day.
The Administration’s proposed 28% cut to the foreign assistance budget is simply not in the national interest of the United States. It will not make Americans any safer or more prosperous and will do little to balance our country’s budget. On the contrary, this shortsighted request will ultimately cost American taxpayers more money, requiring more costly interventions in subsequent years to address the destabilizing effect that malnutrition, poverty, and disease have on communities.
Foreign assistance programs, which constitute less than 1% of the federal budget, have outsized impact around the world. U.S. investments to combat global malnutrition deliver proven interventions that save and improve lives and build trading partners for American businesses. Annual GDP losses attributable to malnutrition average 12% in Africa and Asia, eclipsing the GDP losses experienced after the 2008 global financial crisis. But, for every $1 invested in improving nutrition in the 1,000 day window between pregnancy and age two, we see a return of $48 in better health and economic productivity.
To see sustainable gains in nutrition, we must ensure that a multi-sectoral range of programs is protected and, ultimately, grown. This includes bilateral U.S. development investments as well as our country’s contributions to critical multilateral organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Bank. And, to effectively deliver, we must ensure that the expertise of USAID, the U.S. government’s lead development agency, is strengthened.
We look to Members of Congress to continue their remarkable leadership in promoting international development by securing and protecting the FY 2018 International Affairs budget as an investment in our national security and in our future prosperity.