Catholic charitable group hails Congress decision on poverty-based aid

world | Dec 17, 2011 | By Martin Barillas

Catholic Relief Services, which is the US-based charitable arm of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican's CARITAS organization, congratulated Congress for "protecting international poverty-focused humanitarian and disaster assistance in its final appropriations bill for FY 2012."

In a release, CRS stated that the "bill mitigates deep cuts to these accounts last year, restoring them by approximately 3%, to a total of approximately $19 billion. Catholics from across the country joined Catholic Relief Services in an unprecedented effort to support the life-saving work of these international accounts."

“Leaders in Congress listened to their consciences and their constituents in this historic vote,” said Bill O’Keefe, Vice President for Advocacy of Catholic Relief Services.

“Even in difficult economic times, leaders in Congress, especially the State and Foreign Operations subcommittees in Congress– Rep. Granger, Rep. Lowey, Sen. Leahy and Sen. Graham –recognized the millions of lives saved and improved overseas with a mere 1% of the national budget,” he continued.

The funding supports life-saving programs such as providing food and shelter to victims of the drought in the Horn of Africa.  It also funds basic agriculture, water, and health programs that can lessen the effects of such disasters.  In addition, it supports migration and refugee assistance to those fleeing violence, oppression, and disasters.

“Congress heard loudly and clearly from many Americans who, while enduring a challenging economic time themselves, asserted that as a blessed nation, America, must lead in responding to the neediest in the world,” O’Keefe said.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.