1991 Scorecard Vote
Given the exponential rate of world population growth, which added 96 million people in the past year alone, action taken this decade to stem growth will determine whether the Earth's population doubles or triples in the next century. World population is now slightly more than 5.4 billion. Nearly half those living in the developing world will enter their reproductive years within the next 25 years. If we make a concerted effort now, world population should peak near 10 billion. If we fail to act now, it will continue to soar to 14 billion or more.
Implementation of the U.N. Amsterdam Declaration, endorsed by 79 countries, including the United States in 1989, would help hold world population relatively stable at 10 billion by making voluntary family planning universally available by the year 2000. The U.S. needs to target 4% of its foreign aid budget to population assistance to realize this goal. Last year, the U.S. increased its contribution to international population programs significantly from $270 million to $330 million. Turning the corner on the problem, however, will require even larger increases in the future.
A formal letter, written by Representatives Anthony Beilenson (D CA-23) and Peter Kostmayer (D PA-8) to the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Chairman David Obey (D WI-7), requested an increase to $570 million in FY 1992 for international population assistance. The letter was sent to Chairman Obey on May 28, prior to votes in the Subcommittee on FY 1992 appropriations. The Subcommittee approved $400 million.
Combating population growth is one of the most vital and farsighted efforts we can undertake, and an increase in funding now will save many times the expense in future foreign assistance. Environmentalists consider a signature on the Beilenson-Kostmayer letter to be a strong pro-environment position. The letter was signed by 101 Members of Congress.