Letter: It’s time we remind Congress that Americans really do care about foreign aid

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2020, file photo, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Mark Green speaks to members of the press during a briefing at the Munich Security conference in Munich Germany. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool Photo via AP)

In December 2021, surveys evaluating public opinion on foreign aid showed a common theme: Americans believe foreign aid is a good thing.

53% support maintaining or increasing the current foreign aid budget and 67% support foreign aid as a means to ensuring global stability. 61% say that combating world hunger should be a very important goal of U.S. foreign policy.

However, as of FY 2020, total foreign aid was $51 billion, which is less than 1% of the U.S. federal budget. Foreign aid should be a priority, according to public opinion, but federal spending patterns prove again and again that foreign aid is not being prioritized.

Surveys show that Americans think the U.S. spends as much as 25% percent of the federal budget on foreign assistance, but the facts show us the harsh reality. About $30 billion on average goes to programs to assist the world’s needy, while $663 billion goes toward military spending. Americans support foreign aid, so why doesn’t government spending reflect that? Foreign assistance can open markets and create jobs for Americans, as well as curb national security threats. In the end, the U.S. benefits from aiding developing countries.

Visit the Borgen Project’s website for more information if you’re interested in how you can communicate your support for foreign aid to your government leaders. Utahns: Call Mike Lee and Mitt Romney and urge them to support an increase to the International Affairs Budget. It’s time we remind Congress that Americans really do care about foreign aid.

Abigail Farnsworth Strong, Pleasant Grove

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