USAID: GOP Budget Would Kill 70,000 Kids Worldwide

Budget would cause the deaths of at least 70,000 children who rely on American funding, says USAID.

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BY Aliyah Shahid

The GOP's budget would cause the deaths of at least 70,000 children around the world who rely on American funding, according to the government agency in charge of foreign aid.

"I believe these are very conservative estimates," USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah told a House Appropriations subcommittee this week. [See a roundup of political cartoons on the federal budget and deficit.]

Of the 70,000 deaths, 30,000 would come from slashing malaria control programs, 24,000 from lack of immunizations and 16,000 from unsafe birthing practices.

The budget bill, H.R. 1, would cut 16% from President Obama's budget request for international aid.

Republicans and Democrats have been wrangling for months over a long-term budget that would fund the federal government through September. They must reach a compromise by April 8 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

The latest round of horse trading reportedly has Democrats conceding $33 billion in cuts—less than the $61 billion demanded by the Tea Party, but far more than the left initially wanted to allow.

House Speaker John Boehner—caught between the GOP's Tea Party wing and the necessity of getting Democrats to sign off on his plan, too—insists there's still no deal. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the Tea Party.]

Requests for comment from House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman were not immediately returned.

During a press conference on Thursday, Boehner said Democrats were "rooting for a government shutdown." He added that the GOP would fight for all the spending cuts they could.

During the hearing on foreign aid, Texas Republican Rep. Kay Granger said that while she understands the "value of many of these important programs, the funding request for next year is-is truly unrealistic in today's budget environment," according to Foreign Policy.

We simply cannot fund everything that has been funded in the past. And we certainly cannot continue to fund programs that are duplicative and wasteful," she added.