The US Government’s shutdown could hit foreign aid

A deadlocked US congress could impact on the communities we are trying to reach.

2 Oct 2013

The US congress was unable to settle budget differences late Monday evening, leading to a Government shutdown that could soon be felt by organisations such as WaterAid and the communities we are trying to reach.

Lisa Schechtman, Head of Policy and Advocacy at WaterAid America, spoke to the Inter Press Service about the effect the US Government shutdown could have on foreign aid:

"Our biggest concern right now is the loss of confidence and predictability in ongoing US Government relationships with partner Governments in poor countries.

"For instance, to implement a successful sanitation programme requires a relatively long-term investment to actually change community behaviour. A shutdown starts to threaten the reliable, longer-term relationship that is really central to a lot of the programmes that USAID undertakes.”

Further, as fiscal disagreement continues in Washington, Schechtman notes that foreign assistance – although constituting less than 1% of the overall budget – will remain increasingly vulnerable to cuts:

"The challenge is that USAID is often disproportionately targeted in budget negotiations, with members of Congress viewing USAID’s work as a good place to start when trying to save money.

"[Foreign assistance] appropriations are already lacking in comfortable funding levels, which means that their staying power is not as long as we would like. That’s not just about the US Government missing opportunities, but also translates into impacts on human lives around the world."

Read the full story on the IPS website >