Freedom House Supports President’s International Affairs Budget Request in New Report | Page 71 | Freedom House

Freedom House Supports President’s International Affairs Budget Request in New Report

Washington

Freedom House supports President Obama’s 2012 request for the international affairs budget and cautions against steep cuts to foreign assistance in Investing in Freedom: Analyzing the FY 2012 International Affairs Budget Request, a new report released on Thursday.
 
As Congress begins to consider Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 spending levels, large cuts have been proposed to many sections of the budget, including foreign affairs.  The President’s request of $61.5 billion for international affairs, of which $37.2 is for foreign assistance, represents a modest portion of the budget that is vital to protecting national security and promoting American foreign policy abroad.
 
“During difficult budget times it is natural that foreign aid should come under the same scrutiny as other parts of the budget, however large cuts to the international affairs budget would have a detrimental effect on the ability of the United States to be an effective world leader and to protect its international interests,” said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House.   “Moreover, cuts would disproportionately affect democracy and human rights funding, which makes up only 10% of foreign assistance.  The grassroots movements for democracy in the Middle East that have occurred over the past few months demonstrate why the United States should be redoubling its efforts worldwide, not cutting back.”
 
The President’s request for the democracy and human rights portion of the international affairs budget for FY 2012 is $3.15 billion, a seven percent decrease from current levels.  The militarily strategic countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan receive more than half of that funding, leaving every other country in the world competing for the remaining funds.
 
“Polls show that the American public strongly supports funding for foreign assistance,” said Sarah Trister, congressional liaison for Freedom House and author of the report.  “In fact, when asked Americans chose to allocate 11 percent of the federal budget to aid overseas, as opposed to the roughly one percent that is currently being spent.  Foreign assistance is a cost-effective way to protect America’s future interests, as small investments now can often avert more costly initiatives that come with disease epidemics, man-made disasters, and political instability abroad.”
 
Click here to view the report and the appendix.
 
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.  
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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