“While normally reticent to support the level of government spending that has been contemplated and instituted during the Covid-19 relief packages until now, we recognize that this virus presents a unique challenge to the United States and to the world.
“This is a once-in-a-century crisis that requires a once-in-a-century response. That response must also include additional U.S. foreign assistance.
“We are deeply concerned that, in its efforts to take care of our own nation, Congress risks making a terrible mistake by inadequately increasing U.S. foreign assistance funding.
“Our call for generous, additional funding is informed by our travels around the world and by the networks of international Christian communities whom we know and we serve.
“Fragile parts of many countries, and especially in Latin America and Africa, came to this struggle with inadequate healthcare systems to begin with. Covid-19 has exacerbated those problems while presenting additional strains on society, and as usual, it is the people at the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder who are bearing the heaviest load: the poor are becoming poorer, the sick are becoming sicker and the most vulnerable are at greatest risk.
“Finally, our advocacy for religious freedom and human rights has acquainted us firsthand with the increasing efforts by China, and other malign actors, to threaten America’s unrivaled role in the world. Without question the Chinese Communist Party is exploiting this crisis, a crisis for which it bears much responsibility, in order to advance its international ambitions. It is in the critical, national security interests of the United States to ensure that China isn’t allowed to use humanitarian assistance to force its Communist ambitions upon fragile countries during this vulnerable moment.”
Absent immediate humanitarian response, Covid-19 will cause many millions of deaths in fragile states and conflict-affected countries. The pandemic also poses a serious threat to the progress that has been made in mitigating other epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The World Food Program additionally estimates that the global food crises could double by the end of 2020, putting 265 million people at risk of severe malnutrition and starvation.
To address these threats, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and The Congress of Christian Leaders are calling on Congress to pass a bill to fund foreign assistance. The global needs could exceed $25 billion. The funds would support humanitarian aid projects managed by PEPFAR, USAID and other U.S. and international agencies.