Impacts of the Budget Axe

Last week USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah testified before the House State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee on the impact of proposed budget cuts to his agency.Administrator Shah indicated that proposed cuts in foreign aid as reflected in H.R. 1 would result in 70,000 children dying. Most of those deaths would stem from the curtailment of malaria-control programs in Africa.

Republicans advocating for the program cuts dismissed Shah's figures as "speculation." However, what is interesting is that the very malaria programs that are now targeted for cuts were the product of the previous Bush administration.

Washington Post conservative columnist Michael Gerson — a frequent critic of the Obama administration and a former Bush speechwriter — argues in favor of keeping the USAID programs. Gerson has seen young children needlessly die in Africa from preventable diseases. I highly recommend reading his column about the cuts to the USAID malaria programs. With all the recent criticism waged against U.S. foreign aid, it is refreshing to hear Gerson' s voice join Shah's in speaking up on behalf of the children.