LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Keep foreign assistance alive

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When it comes to U.S. national security, the economy and our global interests, American foreign-assistance programs represent the best bang for our buck. At a cost of less than 1 percent of the federal budget, we reap enormous returns on this investment by opening up new markets to American goods and services and maintaining stability in volatile parts of the world where violence and war would otherwise prevail.

On top of the economic and strategic reasons, there is also the moral dimension. Millions of children are alive and thriving today thanks to AIDS treatment, successful vaccination efforts and other programs financed by American foreign assistance. Republicans and Democrats alike have supported these efforts (such as the distribution of anti-malarial bed nets and the construction of rural hospitals, schools and clinics) for decades.

Our bipartisan legacy of fighting extreme poverty, hunger and disease should be a point of national pride and protected by lawmakers. I call on Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, to ensure that our international-affairs budget does not suffer any more cuts.

PAUL ZEITZ

Potomac

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