Letter to the editor: U.S. spending priorities are wrong

Recently, a key Senate panel has given bipartisan approval to a modified version of President Trump’s $4 billion-plus request to care for tens of thousands of migrant refugees on the southern U.S. border. I was pleased to hear this approval, particularly after Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and others described the condition of the federal facilities holding migrant refugees as terrible and overcrowded.
Indeed, as the most powerful nation on earth, the United States needs to allocate more aid to improve the living conditions for people suffering in abject poverty locally and globally. Global poverty is an imminent issue with countless success stories of improved conditions for individuals through foreign aid.
Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, the budget proposed by the present administration makes no funding for the State Department and USAID through the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). OCO funds make up approximately one-third of the international aid budget. Meanwhile, the budget proposes an increase to the already abundant military and defense budget. Of the $700 billion that is proposed to be spent on defense per annum, if $30 billion was spent to solve world hunger, The Borgen Project states that it would be eradicated.
Indeed, less than 0.7 percent of all federal expenditures can save lives. Alleviating global poverty is in the country’s best interest. By lifting people from poverty to consumers, more jobs will be created, and economic improvement will be seen nationally.
Let us take action by supporting our Senate members, such as Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, who have requested a reduction in funding for defense to channel into international aid and let us urge others to do the same.
Monique Tania Santoso

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