The Trump Administration’s $4.1 trillion 2018 detailed budget, released Tuesday by the White House and the Office of Management and Budget, proposes deep cuts to or entirely eliminates programs essential to domestic and international cooperative development.
Although it is not expected to survive scrutiny by lawmakers, the proposal puts numbers on the Trump administration’s priorities of defense and homeland security—often at the expense of foreign aid, which the budget slashes by more than a third.
The budget also dissolves Rural Business and Cooperative Service, which creates rural economic opportunity, spurs job growth and administers the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program.
Among the eliminations announced in this morning’s budget proposal are Food for Peace (P.L 480 Title II Food Aid), the Cooperative Development Program (CDP) and the Development Assistance account (Feed the Future/Global Food Security), the bedrock of U.S. investments that promote economic development, support good governance and create more sustainable, self-sufficient communities worldwide.
Each of these programs directly impacts NCBA CLUSA’s international development work. The elimination of Food for Peace would end international food assistance programs worth $1.7 billion at a time when the world faces the potential of four simultaneous famines, according to the World Food Programme.
In Madagascar, NCBA CLUSA works in four Food For Peace priority regions; in Senegal, NCBA CLUSA implements the first-ever Feed the Future project, Yaajeende, which has reduced malnutrition in children under five by 31 percent in project area villages in Senegal. NCBA CLUSA also implements two CDP projects benefiting countries worldwide.
“From their role in spurring job growth in rural America to achieving food security and resilience in communities worldwide, cooperatives play an important part in sustainable community development,” said Judy Ziewacz, President and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. “NCBA CLUSA is committed to preserving these investments and will continue to be a strong advocate for the role of cooperative development in the U.S. and around the world.”
Alan Knapp, NCBA CLUSA’s Vice President of Advocacy, will continue to monitor developments as Congress reviews the budget proposal in the coming weeks.
“While we’re disappointed in the priorities outlined in the budget proposal, NCBA CLUSA is confident that Congress will ultimately recognize the value of cooperative development,” Knapp said. “Now is the time to throw all of our energy and resources into highlighting, defending and ensuring the continuation of the good work cooperatives and their members do,” he added.
To that end, NCBA CLUSA has reached out to every member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies.
Earlier this month, NCBA CLUSA President and CEO Judy Ziewacz submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, rejecting calls for the elimination of discretionary programs administered by USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative Service and requesting at least $26,850,000 in RCDG funding for FY 2018.
Her testimony ends by urging the Trump Administration to “provide the necessary federal investment needed to help create, sustain and inspire vibrant rural communities.”