President’s Proposed Budget Cuts Will be Catastrophic for Mothers and Children Around the World

Media Contact: Brendan Daly, [email protected], (202) 794-1580

The President today proposed massive budget cuts to foreign assistance

Washington, D.C. (May 23, 2017) – Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) President Mark Shriver today announced the organizations’ strong opposition to the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposing massive cuts to international development and humanitarian assistance programs that, if enacted, would be disastrous for the health, education and safety of mothers and children around the world.

Despite hunger crises in parts of Africa and the Middle East, the displacement of more than 65 million people worldwide due to conflict and crisis, and reemerging global health threats, the administration’s budget proposal reduces the International Affairs Budget to $40.1 billion – a 32 percent cut from total FY17 enacted levels. Because these cuts would compromise the ability of children to access basic services in some of the most challenging circumstances, Save the Children and Save the Children Action Network urge Congress to base their fiscal year 2018 appropriations on the fiscal year 2017 funding levels that Congress approved earlier this month.

“The proposed cuts to foreign assistance would reverse the bipartisan progress the United States has made in helping millions of children survive and thrive around the world,” said Miles. “The budget includes cuts to programs that increase food security, provide access to critical health services for children, provide educational opportunities to children, and reach children in dire humanitarian crises. These programs not only represent American values but help ensure children everywhere have the childhood they deserve.”

Save the Children and SCAN are also concerned that the budget proposal contains cuts that undermine the essential division between diplomacy and development as distinct tools of U.S. engagement with the world. USAID and the State Department each serve separate purposes. In the proposed budget, USAID’s Development Assistance funds are merged with State Department funds to create a new security-focused Economic Support and Development Fund. This shift subordinates the development voice and dilutes the ability of USAID to ensure that international assistance is focused on the areas of greatest need and where aid has the greatest potential to reduce poverty around the world. 

It is particularly troubling that the president’s budget request eliminates programs and accounts without a thorough review to ensure best practices remain and that there is sufficient funding available to achieve America’s goals. Notably, Food for Peace Title II and McGovern-Dole Food for Education programs are eliminated within this proposal at a time when the world faces dire levels of food insecurity.

Several of the proposed budget cuts target programs that are critical to helping the most vulnerable children and families around the world. Some examples include the following: 

  • 53 percent cut to international basic education funding and elimination of education programs in some countries entirely, including in Malawi where adolescent girls are already disproportionately excluded from the education sector. 
  • 50 percent cut to USAID Global Health Programs. These cuts, which include reductions in Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, would take us further away from ending preventable maternal and child deaths.
  • 30 percent cut to International Disaster Assistance and Migration & Refugee Assistance. These proposed drastic cuts could prevent millions of vulnerable children and families from accessing lifesaving assistance at a time of unprecedented humanitarian need.
  • 50 percent cut to agriculture funding, previously called Feed the Future.

“Congress has long championed, in a bipartisan manner, efforts to make a difference in the lives of children. Reaching every last child requires focusing on the places where effective programs can have the greatest impact.  We will work with Congress to deliver a budget that will provide for children and families around the world,” Miles said.

“We are concerned that the president has proposed reductions in programs for maternal and child survival including drastic cuts in nutrition. Taken together, the proposed funding is not even close to what is needed to achieve the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths,” said Shriver. “When we help those who are less fortunate, by preventing pneumonia, providing vitamin A supplements, or by treating diarrhea so that it does not become fatal, we clearly articulate to the world the compassion and generosity of the American people. After more than two decades of significant progress – including reducing by half the number of kids age 5 and younger dying from preventable causes – we must use our voices to tell Congress to oppose cuts to effective, low-cost and life-saving programs.”


Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. 

Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.