Representatives Gerald Connolly (D-VA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) authored an op-ed which appeared in today’s Politico about the importance of investing in smart power regardless of one’s political affiliation. The bipartisan piece was geared toward freshman members of Congress – providing a word of advice on the importance of the international affairs budget and it’s impact on national security.
“This month marks the beginning of what is sure to be a difficult and contentious year-long, and perhaps years-long, debate over U.S. spending. Foreign aid should and will be part of that discussion and cuts are certain, whether they come from the Administration or Congress. But my hope is that they will be “smart” cuts that will not minimize the goal of advancing American interests, scale back aid programs that have proven to be effective, or stifle promising new initiatives that will bring greater efficiency, accountability, and impact to that less-than-1% of the budget that is foreign aid.”
Our message to the members of Congress was simple. Even in tough economic times, a strong and effective International Affairs Budget is worth every dime. Investing in democracy, development, and diplomacy serves our economic interests here at home as well and our national security. As I accompanied Truman National Security Project veteran Lt. General Norm Seip (US Air Force, Retired) and his group to meetings with several new US Senators, the national security and economic arguments for continuing our development work abroad had the most resounding impact. One thing is clear: development is not charity — it is part and parcel of our national security and it has very real impacts on the global economy.
“If that 1 percent was gone, the only face America would be putting to the world is one of helmets and boots on the ground,” said Sam Worthington, who heads InterAction, a coalition of U.S.-based relief groups that includes CARE and the International Rescue Committee. “It would deeply impact our image in the world and our ability to relate to other peoples.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you take a look at the video below from MFAN Partner the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in which high-ranking officials like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, retired General Michael W. Hagee and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speak to the importance of investing in smart … Continue reading USGLC Video on the International Affairs Budget
“The problem isn’t that we are spending too much on promoting global development, strengthening our alliances, and dealing with global threats. Rather, we must do a better job communicating the actual size and importance of our International Affairs budget.”
Congressman Howard Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke yesterday on the House Floor about the importance of the International Affairs Budget and why the Republicans proposed budget cuts threaten American national security. To read his full statement, click here.
Connie Veillette, Ph.D., the Director of the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance program at the Center for Global Development and MFAN’s newest Principal, guest blogged for The Will and The Wallet today. With one week left before the mid-term elections, Veillette ponders how the mounting budget deficit and the changing political dynamic will affect funding of the … Continue reading The 112th Congress: A Perfect Storm for Aid Cuts, or a Perfect Opportunity for Reform?
In a recent Stimson Center blog post on national security spending, Laura A. Hall and Gordon Adams examine military and civilian roles in a variety of areas such as post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction and conflict prevention. “In the last 10 years, DoD has expanded its mission and resources to fill the gaps it perceives in civilian capabilities. Even DoD cites the importance of the vastly less expensive and more effective civilian solutions in areas like post-conflict stabilization. So why does DoD find an empty space to fill? There are a variety of political answers: Congressional mistrust of civilian departments, insufficient Administration leadership, uncertainty about overseas nation building. Yet most important is that Congress finds it far easier to fund the military due to a sense of military competence and a commitment to providing whatever is necessary for ‘defense’ activities.”
As Congress moves on the appropriations process, it is critical that the President’s FY 2011 International Affairs Budget Request is fully funded. MFAN Partner the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition created a Budget Update Center with a wealth of resources, including fact sheets, graphics, and statements on the budget process and why the International Affairs Budget plays … Continue reading Action Alert: MFAN Partners’ Budget Drives