Congress Must Stand Up for Essential Aid Programs, Oppose Destructive Cuts
Washington, DC—On May 23, the Trump administration released its 2018 budget request to Congress, which would slash important economic, humanitarian, and security assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean by 35 percent from 2016 levels. If the request is approved as written, it would spell disaster not only for efforts to advance U.S. interests by promoting citizen security, poverty reduction, and humanitarian aid, but also for the United States’ standing on issues of human rights and social justice in our hemisphere for years to come.
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a research and advocacy organization with over four decades’ experience in advancing human rights in the Americas, is deeply alarmed by the Trump administration’s budget request. WOLA calls on Members of Congress to declare this request “dead on arrival,” and fund assistance to the region at least at current levels.
“If Congress passes the Trump administration’s 2018 budget request, it would pose a serious risk to U.S. credibility with our partners across the Americas. We have made vital commitments to allies in Colombia, Mexico, and elsewhere, and these need to be honored, not abandoned for short-sighted interests. Although the administration may think it is saving money by cutting aid to levels not seen since 2001, in the long run these cuts will have a price tag that is far greater than the $636 million the administration purports to save. These savings would also be undercut by a dramatic increase in the U.S. defense budget and by ill-advised, wasteful border security measures, like the building of 74 miles of new border wall at a cost of $21.2 million per mile,” said Matt Clausen, WOLA Executive Director.
In light of the announcement, WOLA has prepared an analysis of the budget request and its drastic implications for U.S. assistance across the Americas.