Head of USAID: GOP Budget Would Kill 70,000 Children

UPDATE (8 April): For pretty much the exact opposite take, check out Rajiv Shah cries wolf.

Excerpted from a posting on yesterday’s ForeignPolicy.com:

“As Congress struggles to negotiate a budget deal to keep the government running, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) told lawmakers Wednesday that the GOP version of the budget bill would result in the deaths of at least 70,000 children who depend on American food and health assistance around the world.

‘We estimate, and I believe these are very conservative estimates, that H.R. 1 would lead to 70,000 kids dying,’ USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah testified before the House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee.

‘Of that 70,000, 30,000 would come from malaria control programs that would have to be scaled back specifically. The other 40,000 is broken out as 24,000 would die because of a lack of support for immunizations and other investments and 16,000 would be because of a lack of skilled attendants at birth,’ he said.

The Republican bill, known as H.R.1, was passed by the House, and would fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2011. It would effectively cut 16 percent from the Obama administration’s original fiscal 2011 request for the international affairs account.”

While arguments can be made that lowering salaries, relying less on expensive contractors, and adopting less stringent force-protection measures could make up for some of the money lost under H.R. 1; it’s nice to (finally!) see someone in the Obama Administration with both the ability to make a clear summation and the cojones to speak truth to power.


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