Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Millennium Development Goals: Action in Congress

As I have discussed in past posts, the United States has joined with other nations in supporting Millennium Development Goals, which direct specific investments that are necessary to make extreme poverty a thing of the past. The cost of achieving these goals is estimated to be 0.7% of GDP. Many Episcopal congregations, including my own, are donating 0.7% or more of their budget to projects that are linked to the Millennium Development Goals, and my wife and I are making the same commitment.

If we are to achieve success in these goals, however, we need the United States government to satisfy its own commitments. And this requires that sufficient funds be allocated in the budgeting process. The first step is to ensure that the House and Senate Appropriations chairmen allocate sufficient funds to the appropriation subcommittees that fund MDP commitments. I will spare you the details, but these are called 302(b) allocations, and these allocations effectively cap what can be spent by the various subcommittees.

There is now a "Dear Colleague" letter that is being circulated by members of the House and Senate, urging the chairmen to allocate no less that $39.8 billion to the International Affairs Budget. The letter, known as the Feinstein-Hagel-Durbin-Smith-Dodd-Coleman (Feinstein-Hagel for short) still needs more signers. Here is who has signed so far:

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT)Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN)Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR)

If your Senator has not signed on, take action. The One Campaign offers a very simply way to do so at this website.

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