President Donald Trump’s vow to put “America first” includes a plan to drastically cut assistance to developing countries and merge the State Department with USAID, according to an internal budget document and sources.

The administration’s March budget proposal vowed to slash aid to developing countries by over one-third, but contained few details. According to a detailed 15-page State Department budget document obtained by Foreign Policy, the overhaul also includes rechanneling funding from development assistance into a program that is tied closely to national security objectives.
Tuesday, April 25, is World Malaria Day. Malaria is an infectious disease claiming the lives of now 429,000 people each year – mostly children.

Living in the South most of my life, I am all too familiar with the annoyance of mosquitos, especially in the evening. But I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to live with mosquitoes beyond annoyance; an insect bite that might mean the death of my sweet little boy. Millions of mothers and fathers face that fear around the globe year after year, whereby malaria claims the life of one child every two minutes.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly bought time “to do a deeper analysis of foreign aid” in the face of President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The proposed cuts of 30 percent or more are the product of an “America First” budget that frames the issue of foreign assistance as a choice between nation-building at home and nation-building abroad.
It is clear that the generosity of the American people has had a huge impact — one that reflects the view that all lives are precious, and to whom much is given, much is required. This lifesaving work also has a practical purpose for Americans. Societies mired in disease breed hopelessness and despair, leaving people ripe for recruitment by extremists. When we confront suffering — when we save lives — we breathe hope into devastated populations, strengthen and stabilize society, and make our country and the world safer.
President Trump’s proposed budget would have a profound negative impact on the health of people around the world – including those in both our country and our state. The administration’s proposed budget makes significant cuts to global health and development funding, including an 18 percent cut to the Health and Human Services budget, a 29 percent cut to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In President Trump’s proposed budget, there’s a $54 billion bump in military spending. U.S. foreign aid would be cut by 28 percent. Global health spending beyond AIDS, malaria and vaccines will suffer.

This type of foreign aid, according to many U.S. policymakers and military leaders, increases soft power, or the global influence the United States has because it supports basic human rights and humanitarian causes. Emma-Louise Anderson and I show this payoff for the United States among people living with HIV in Zambia and Malawi.

Read the rest of the article on The Washington Post

Today, more than 783 million people around the world lack access to clean water, and nearly 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation. Because dirty water contributes to diarrheal diseases, a leading cause of death among children under the age of five, this translates to more than 700,000 preventable, treatable deaths among children every year. Without clean water to drink, cook and clean, disease and death abound.
I understand why some Americans watch their tax dollars going overseas and wonder why we’re not spending them at home. Here’s my answer: These projects keep Americans safe. And by promoting health, security and economic opportunity, they stabilize vulnerable parts of the world.
Leading the world in providing foreign assistance, albeit less than 1 percent of our budget, is not only the compassionate, moral thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do. We know that development is a critical component to national security.

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