Dangerous House Budget Cut to International Affairs Puts National, Economic Security at Risk

EDITOR’S NOTE: The House Budget Committee’s fiscal 2012 budget resolution is a cause for great concern for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, says Melissa Silverman of USGLC. The $41 billion proposal for the international affairs budget amounts to a 30 percent reduction from the fiscal 2010 enacted levels, a move that she believes “will clearly diminish U.S. global engagement and competitiveness.”

Washington, DC —The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) expressed great concern with the dangerous and disproportionate cuts to the International Affairs Budget in the House Budget Committee’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget resolution released today.  Chairman Ryan’s $41 billion proposal for the International Affairs Budget represents close to a 30% cut from FY 2010 enacted levels.  While representing less than one-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of America’s GDP, this cut will not effectively reduce our deficit, but it will clearly diminish U.S. global engagement and competitiveness.

While the House Budget resolution fully funds the President’s request level of $8.7 billion for the State Department and USAID’s Overseas Contingency Operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, it contains damaging cuts to critical security programs in other dangerous parts of the world.  The total cuts to the International Affairs Budget are stark compared to other security-related accounts (Defense, Veterans, and Homeland Security), which remain largely untouched or flat-funded in the House Budget resolution.

“Congress needs to understand the price paid in inadequate diplomatic and developmental efforts is usually measured in the lives of soldiers and sailors,” said Admiral James Loy, USCG (Ret.), co-chair of the USGLC’s National Security Advisory Council.  “While I am grateful our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq are fully funded, we live in a very dangerous world with many other hot spots that could go unaddressed and become tomorrow’s Afghanistan with all the horrors that portends.”

“While everyone agrees we need to get our fiscal house in order, we must protect our national and economic security in the process,” said USGLC Chairman Dan Glickman.  “Military leaders from General Petraeus to Admiral Mike Mullen are adamant that International Affairs programs are a critical part of our national security.  These very deep cuts can hamstring our ability to effectively respond to the global challenges we face today.”

R. Bruce Josten, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a letter to Congress last week, “The International Affairs Budget is critical to U.S. economic engagement with the world, especially at a time when there is a wide recognition of the need to boost U.S. exports to create new jobs.”   He reminded Congress that nearly half of American exports now go to the developing world and the U.S. must continue to invest overseas.

The International Affairs Budget is just over one percent of federal spending, yet it provides a tremendous return on investment to the American taxpayer.  International Affairs programs are at work in the most dangerous corners of the world, working to stabilize fragile states, combat terrorism and deter threats before they reach America’s shores.

Just last week, 70 retired 3 and 4-star Admirals and Generals asked Congress to support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget, saying, “Development and diplomacy keep us safer by addressing threats in the most dangerous corners of the world and by preventing conflicts before they occur.”

The International Affairs Budget promotes a better, safer America and world by protecting national security, building economic prosperity and strengthening humanitarian values.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.

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

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