Bipartisan Support for a Robust International Affairs Budget

EDITOR’S NOTE: Key Republican and Democratic lawmakers from both chambers of Congress are urging their colleagues to sign on to a letter calling on President Barack Obama to request a robust foreign affairs budget for fiscal 2011. The “Dear Colleague” letters stress the importance of international affairs spending in promoting national security and economic prosperity, Richard Parker of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition shares.

This week in both the House and the Senate, “Dear Colleague” letters began circulating to all Members of Congress asking them to sign on to a letter to President Obama urging him to request a robust International Affairs Budget in Fiscal Year 2011. The letters are being led by Senators Kerry (D-MA) Feinstein (D-CA) and Lugar (R-IN) and Congressmen Berman (D-CA) and Kirk (R-IL), along with four other Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate-showing the clear bipartisan support behind elevating development and diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy.

The letters stress the importance of the International Affairs Budget “as part of a comprehensive U.S. effort to strengthen our national security, build economic prosperity, and uphold our humanitarian principles.” They go on to say, “National security and foreign policy experts across the political spectrum agree that our national security is dependent not only on a strong military force but also on increased investments in the full range of diplomatic, development and humanitarian tools funded through the International Affairs Budget.”

Members circulating the letter also include Senators Bond (R-MO), Corker (R-TN), Durbin (D-IL), Dodd (D-CT), Isakson (R-GA), Menendez (D-NJ), and Voinovich (R-OH), and House Members Cooper (D-TN), Emerson (R-MO), Lance (R-NJ), Reichert (R-WA), Schock (R-IL), Schwartz (D-PA), Skelton (D-MO), and Snyder (D-AR).

The support of Congressman Skelton is of particular importance, as he chairs the House Armed Services Committee, demonstrating just how important development and diplomacy, alongside a strong defense, are to protecting our national security. Also of note is the support of Congresswoman Schwartz, as she is Vice Chair of the House Budget Committee.

A similar letter was sent to the President for the FY 2010 with 217 Member signatures.

Re-published with permission by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Visit the original article.

About the author

  • Richard Parker

    Richard Parker joined the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition after serving as director of communications for the Peace Corps. Previously, Parker served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focusing on international health issues. He also worked in public affairs for the state of Virginia and communications and marketing for the American Red Cross and Levi Strauss & Co. He holds a master’s in public policy from Regent University and a bachelor’s in business from N.C. State University.