Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is deeply concerned regarding cuts in funding for overseas refugee assistance proposed in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs’ newly released FY24 funding bill.
“Earlier this week, we commemorated World Refugee Day, a time to honor the lives and contributions of the world’s forcibly displaced,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director of JRS/USA. “Against this backdrop, and at a time when more than 108 million people are currently forcibly displaced from their homes, a cut in funding by the House of Representatives demonstrates an abdication of US leadership. The US must do more, not less, to meet the growing global need as refugees face the loss of access to lifesaving programs that provide food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education.”
The House of Representatives FY24 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs funding bill includes $6.5 billion for support of humanitarian assistance managed by the Department of State and USAID, which is $364 million below FY23 enacted levels. This includes only $2.5 billion for the Migration & Refugee Assistance account, which falls below the FY19 enacted level. In addition, the bill eliminates the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund which allows the US to meet rapidly occurring and unforeseen humanitarian needs.
The bill also flatlines funding for international basic education, allocating $970 million to the Nita M. Lowey Basic Education Fund which includes $160 million for multilateral partnerships that support education, including Education Cannot Wait (ECW). Although the education needs of crisis-affected children and youth are also on the rise and require additional funding, with 224 million school-aged children affected by crises globally, JRS/USA applauds the Subcommittee for maintaining current levels of funding and avoiding cuts.
“As the FY24 appropriations process continues, we encourage members of the Senate to reverse funding cuts proposed by the House of Representatives,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy & Operations, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. “This is a critical time for the Senate to take action as many refugees have no other prospects of support without assistance provided by the United States. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the needs of refugees are prioritized.”