Trump’s Cuts to Foreign Aid Are Dangerous, Inhumane

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Last week, President Donald Trump proposed radical and cruel cuts to U.S. foreign aid. If his budget for 2018 is approved by Congress and implemented, it would slash crucial aid and development programs and weaken key institutions upholding human rights worldwide.

Each year, I speak with thousands of people in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean who are on the front lines of the fight for human dignity in the face of epidemics, grinding poverty, natural and man-made disasters and authoritarian regimes. These brave advocates work to end child marriage, protect minorities from discrimination and create just societies. Tragically, nearly everything that these organizations are working for would be undercut by Trump’s budget and every problem they are attempting to address would be made worse.


While the American Jewish World Service receives very little funding from the U.S. government, some of the more than 450 organizations we support worldwide receive substantial support from the U.S. government. These groups would be at risk for steep cuts, or worse, under Trump’s budget. Moreover, the international courts and institutions they rely on to advocate for their communities would be undermined by this budget.

I know all too well that the people hit hardest would be ethnic minorities, political dissidents, women and girls, LGBT people and others who have counted on our country to lead on human rights and stand up against abusive governments. I am deeply disturbed that the president’s budget would disproportionately affect women and girls by gutting money for women’s health.


The president has also proposed drastic cuts to development aid and economic support funds to vulnerable countries around the globe, such as Senegal, Haiti and Burma. Such cuts would destabilize those governments and lead to instability. Slashing essential aid to countries in need simply does not serve America’s own safety or long-term strategic interests.

The good news here, if any is to be found, is that the president’s budget proposal is just that — a proposal.

We’re calling on members of Congress from both parties to stand together in opposition to these draconian cuts. Moreover, we’re calling upon American Jews and the organizations and leaders that represent them to raise their voices in fierce opposition. This budget rejects our values and history, weakens our own security and undercuts our vision for America’s role in the world as a champion of human rights and dignity. We must reject it.

Robert Bank is president and CEO of American Jewish World Service.

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