The United States spends only a tiny sliver of its budget on foreign aid, Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Friday, and it’s nowhere near enough to address the need among the world’s poor, vulnerable and suffering. “There simply isn’t enough money,” Risch told a gathering of nonprofit, non-governmental organizations Friday at the Idaho State Museum.
As a result, he said, U.S. officials focus on where there’s the greatest vulnerability, “where we can do the most good,” and thirdly on efficiency. “Efficiency is incredibly important when you’re dealing with not just limited resources, but resources that can’t possibly match the need that’s out there,” Risch said.
Questioned by representatives of the various groups about recent moves by the Trump administration that canceled or delayed assistance programs for maternal and child health, poverty, food insecurity and other ills in countries including Laos, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guatemala, Risch said those “were countries that were not doing the right things with the money that we gave them.”
“It breaks your heart to repurpose the money,” the Idaho Republican told a crowd of nearly 160 gathered for a luncheon titled, “Idaho Cares About Foreign Affairs.”
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