Religious Leaders Seek To Preserve Foreign Aid

Auxiliary Bishop Denis J. Madden of Baltimore, Md., vice chairman of the board of directors of Catholic Relief Services, was on Capital Hill on Nov. 2 in the company of other religious leaders, urging senators to preserve funding in the foreign aid budget for antipoverty programs. The Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, said that the funding at issue supports the most basic aid for poor people abroad. He told of recently visiting an area of northern Bangladesh where he had lived 35 years earlier. Roads, housing, health, the quality and variety of food and particularly the status of women were much improved, Beckmann said, partly because of international assistance. Bishop Madden noted that although the public perception is that the United States spends 20 percent to 25 percent of its budget on foreign aid, the actual level is less than 1 percent. Programs like those that provide anti-retroviral drugs to people with H.I.V./AIDS, emergency refugee and migration assistance, debt restructuring, child survival and maternal health and international disaster assistance are among those facing steep cuts under the House appropriation proposal.

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