U.S. officials are being asked to invest more in programs that could help end or prevent conflicts, whether in Ukraine or any region dealing with significant unrest.
The Prevention and Stabilization Fund is a key account in the U.S. foreign aid budget, to support efforts to prevent and respond to conflict and instability worldwide.
But money for that fund appears to be missing in the latest House appropriations bill on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
Megan Rodgers – U.S. policy and advocacy manager with the group Nonviolent Peaceforce – said if that’s the case, it undercuts the more proactive approach to addressing instability in vulnerable regions.
“It’s actually would save the American taxpayers in the long term,” said Rodgers, “by stopping conflicts before they start and really helping promote peace and security throughout the world.”
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart – R-Miami – who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee, said he is “proud to be part of the Republican Majority in bringing back fiscal sanity to the appropriations process.”
He added that he will “ensure that the American taxpayer does not foot the bill for overseas abortions [and] controversial climate change programs…and bloated international organizations.”
Rodgers argued that those cuts will affect key international aid accounts, including the Global Fragility Act, Complex Crises Fund and contributions to international organizations.
She said she’s also worried about removal of language supporting Unarmed Civilian Protection.
“These are all really key funds,” said Rodgers, “that protect civilians worldwide, that help to prevent and mitigate violence and conflict, and to promote a more peaceful and stable global community.”
Republicans say they are pleased that the bill includes real cuts – with a 24% funding reduction from the administration’s request, and a 12% reduction from last year’s funding level.
Rodgers said those cuts threaten peace and leave lives at risk. Her organization is asking the House to reverse course and urging the Senate to do more to support the programs.