Trump’s Budget Proposal: An Explainer | The Center for Victims of Torture

Trump’s Budget Proposal: An Explainer

Friday, May 26, 2017

Curt Goering is CVT executive director.

Earlier this week, President Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 (October 2018 – September 2019), and the news is mixed for survivors of torture in the U.S. and abroad. 

The good news is that the proposed budget for the Survivors of Torture program in the U.S. remains the same as this year at $10.735 million. This Office of Refugee Resettlement program funds CVT’s direct services work in Minnesota and Atlanta, as well as 33 additional torture survivor rehabilitation programs across the country. These funds also finance our National Capacity Building project, which organizes technical assistance and training for the domestic network of torture survivor programs.

In less positive news, the budget proposal requests a decrease from the current funding level of $3.059 billion to $2.746 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance programs. The Migration and Refugee Assistance account supports the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration, which funds our projects in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Jordan and Iraq. 

Now, for the bad news for survivors of torture. President Trump’s budget proposal calls for no funding for International Organizations & Programs, which supports, among many other programs, the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. The Fund supports more than 100 torture survivor rehabilitation centers worldwide (including CVT), and for programs in some parts of the world the Fund is the only available source of financial support. 

Zeroing out the funding of international aid to survivors of torture is contrary to American values. Our country has long been a beacon of hope to people confronted with the atrocities of warfare and torture. This is where we need your help. Keep survivors’ hope alive by contacting your Senators and Representative and tell them to resist the cuts to torture survivor programs and humanitarian aid.

“You have to keep up the service you’re providing us,” a CVT client told us in Ethiopia. “Because nothing is giving hope. So keep it up.” We must not turn our backs.

Please keep in mind that the White House proposal is just that – a proposal. The House and Senate will each develop budget proposals over the course of the coming months, so there is no point in speculating on the impact of President Trump’s budget proposals  –  the final budget will be very different from what the President has proposed. Your input to your elected officials will help influence this final outcome. As always, we will engage in policy advocacy in an effort to help ensure maximum financial support for the governmental programs that benefit torture survivors and the organizations that help them rebuild their lives.  We will keep you posted as the budget debates continue through the summer and fall.




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