It's official: Congressional negotiations over a debt-reduction plan have now collapsed. What does that mean for America's role in humanitarian assistance and crisis response? Well, it's a bit complicated. But stick with us, and we'll explain.
Breathless headlines about the so-called Supercommittee have been popping up everywhere these days. And as the hours until the committee's deadline tick by, it seems like everyone in Washington is asking the same questions: "Will they or won't they agree to a deal?", "Which party will win, and which will lose?"
Here at Refugees International, we're asking a different question: "What will the debt deal mean for the world's most vulnerable people?"
A few months ago, I wrote about the initial budget negotiations on Capitol Hill and how they could affect America’s humanitarian operations.
At that point, it was clear that the most important budget line items supporting humanitarian action – Migration and Refugee Assistance, International Disaster Assistance, and Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities – were under tremendous pressure.
It has been a big week for those of us working on Pakistan. New attention on the intensely fractured relationship between the US and Pakistan has led to questions about the fate of current and planned aid packages- with emphasis on the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (or the Kerry-Lugar Act).
There is no doubt that thousands of Haitians are suffering from an enormous disaster that warrants a strong international humanitarian response. Refugees International supports the relief efforts underway, as it’s clear that immediate humanitarian assistance is critical. In the coming weeks and months we hope the crisis will stabilize, allowing for longer-term thinking about reconstruction and development. As Haiti moves away from this tragic event toward a brighter future, countries and aid groups must remain engaged and committed. Anything less may result in a protracted or chronic humanitarian crisis for the people of Haiti.