Wednesday, November 26, 2008

US Bishops' Conference/Catholic Relief Services call for Strong international affairs budget. Please consider acting

Urge Congress to invest in a more prosperous and just world
Write your members of Congress now!

TAKE ACTION NOW! Ask your members of Congress to sign a bipartisan letter to President-elect Barack Obama in support of a strong international affairs budget that includes critical assistance for poor and marginalized people worldwide.

WHAT WILL THIS ACTION ACCOMPLISH? A bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives has prepared a letter to President-elect Obama to urge him to include a strong international affairs budget in his overall proposal for the fiscal year 2010 U.S. government budget. While the current financial crisis is seriously straining our nation, now more than ever is the time for the U.S. to remain engaged in the world. A strong international affairs budget will demonstrate our nation’s commitment to help poor people. In the long-term, such investments will also promote a more stable world and protect the global economy.

WHY IS THE INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS BUDGET IMPORTANT? The U.S. international affairs budget includes overall funding levels for our nations’ investments in global humanitarian, economic, and diplomatic initiatives. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) receives some of the funding from the international affairs budget for its emergency response, agriculture, education, HIV and other health programs.

At this point in the process of developing the 2010 international affairs budget, CRS and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are principally concerned with advocating for the highest possible total funding level. That will allow the programs that we care about most the ones that feed millions of hungry people, save millions of lives affected by HIV, help poor people start their own business and become financially independent and educate millions of children around the globe to expand and multiply. It is only later in the budget process that we will focus our advocacy on specific programs that address poverty and injustice.

HOW MUCH MONEY IS THE U.S. INVESTING IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS? The majority of Americans believe that we spend much more money on international affairs initiatives than we actually do. Only about one percent of the entire U.S. government budget or a little more than 34 billion funds international initiatives. While the international affairs budget has grown in recent years, it is still far less in real terms than at the height of the Cold War. Especially as the global economy faces challenges, the poor and marginalized need our assistance.

WHAT DOES THE INTERNATONAL AFFAIRS BUDGET HAVE TO DO WITH MY FAITH? Catholic social teaching is rooted in upholding the fundamental dignity of every human life and directs us to be in solidarity with our neighbors. As Catholics, we are called to help people who are poor, dying, and sick whether they live here in the United States or across all continents. A strong U.S. international affairs budget can demonstrate our nation’s moral commitment to upholding human life and dignity by providing much needed funding to programs that help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the refugee, and heal the sick.

CRS and the USCCB welcome you to join our Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty that seeks to address some of the root causes of global poverty. Please visit our campaign website to join today.

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