Senate Proposes Boosts in Funding for Nutrition and Clean Water

This week, the Senate Appropriations committee approved its State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020—and it contains good news and strong funding for nutrition, food security, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

The international affairs budget, which funds the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department, was allocated $55 billion — a slight increase from last year, though slightly lower than the amount provided in the bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year.

What does this mean for US funding in the fight against deadly hunger? Here are some specifics:

  • Nutrition – The nutrition account was funded at $150 million, an increase by $5 million from last year and from what the House of Representatives had allocated for this year.
  • WASH – The account that funds water, sanitation, and hygiene programming grew to $450 million, continuing a positive trend from last year, when that funding increased from $400 to $435 million. 
  • Development Assistance – The Development Assistance account fuels programs around the world to reduce poverty, support education, improve agricultural production, and a whole lot more. It remains at $3 billion, equal to Fiscal Year 19.
  • International Disaster Assistance – This account, which helps save lives in the wake of disasters like earthquakes, conflicts, and floods, received the same amount of funding as last year at $4.4 billion.
  • Feed the Future — The US government’s flagship food security program is funded at approximately $1 billion, identical to last year.
  • Maternal and Child Health — The maternal and child health account was funded at $847 million, an increase from $835 million in Fiscal Year 2019 and slightly below the House of Representatives’ $850 million.
  • Food for Peace — The Food for Peace program, which works to alleviate global hunger and support the world’s most vulnerable people, was funded in the Agriculture appropriations bill at $1.7 billion. 

We fully support the increases in funding to nutrition, WASH, and other important accounts, and hope that the Senate will continue this trend next year as well. Together with the nutrition community, Action Against Hunger advocates for $250 million to be dedicated to nutrition programming around the world. This amount – which would be just a tiny fraction of the 1% of the federal budget dedicated to international assistance – would help us reach millions more malnourished children with lifesaving treatment.

Action Against Hunger was particularly pleased to see strong language in the Senate report showing support for continued United States Government efforts to prevent and treat severe acute malnutrition. The report, which accompanies the bill, states that “The Committee supports effective nutrition interventions to reduce stunting and wasting, increase breastfeeding and nutrition supplementation for pregnant women, and treat severe malnutrition.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved both the State/Foreign Operations bill and the Agriculture appropriations bill, which funds Food for Peace and other international food aid programs. This Committee action clears the way for a full Senate vote on both bills. 

Additionally, Congress has approved a short-term funding package known as a continuing resolution to keep the government open through November 21, since funding for the current fiscal year will run out on September 30. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed the resolution, which will now be sent to the President for his signature. 

Action Against Hunger applauds the Senate for providing strong funding for the international affairs budget and for funding nutrition, WASH, and food security, which allow us to continue our work helping vulnerable men, women, and children around the globe. 

Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good within our lifetimes. For 40 years, the humanitarian and development organization has been on the front lines, treating and preventing hunger across nearly 50 countries. It served more than 21 million people in 2018 alone.