07.17.20

The Mounting Cost Of COVID Inaction: Foreign Aid

How Much Does The United States Spend On Foreign Aid?

Contrary to popular belief, foreign aid makes up less than 1 percent of the federal budget.  Among other things, these funds support humanitarian disaster relief, global health, economic development, and programs that protect American security interests abroad.

Global COVID Fact

On July 4th, the World Health Organization reported the largest single day increase in new confirmed cases with member countries reporting another 212,000 people with the disease.  Despite the United States leading the surge in infections, the spread of the coronavirus is accelerating around the world to devastating effect, especially in Latin America and Africa.  To date, there are more than 13.6 million confirmed cases worldwide and more than 585,000 deaths, with no end in sight.  The actual numbers are almost certainly far higher. 

What’s The Problem?

Global health and humanitarian organizations are reporting an increasingly desperate need for more resources.  Many countries continue to see a rapid increase in the number of cases and deaths, and many others that had successfully suppressed the first wave of infections are now seeing an increase as they reopen their economies.  The pandemic is also exacerbating existing needs.  For example, the World Food Programme warns that this pandemic and the loss of earning power could push 130 million more people into chronic hunger and starvation by the end of the year.  If Congress fails to act, the pandemic will only become more widespread and costly – in lives and dollars – to defeat.  When and if our country gets the outbreak here under control, if we have not also addressed the global spread it would ultimately be for naught.  Until COVID is contained internationally, U.S. lives and interests are threatened.  Moreover, the Trump Administration has ceded the United States’ leadership role in this crisis by slow walking funding Congress provided and withdrawing from the World Health Organization.

What Can We Do?

The next coronavirus supplemental needs to include the necessary resources to address the global realities of a global pandemic.  The “wait-and-see” strategy of Senate Republicans over the last two months has only made the situation more dire, and Congress needs to act now.

Where Can I Read More?

Despite Big Promises, U.S. Has Delivered Limited Aid In Global Virus Response

U.S. Leads The World’s Virus Fight? That’s News To The World

PDF Link: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/download/cv-foreign-aid-

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