“There’s Bipartisan Support for Boost in Foreign Aid Budget”

By Reps. Gerry Connolly and Aaron Schock

Roll Call; December 7, 2009

Among the many myths that exist about the federal budget, perhaps none is greater than the widespread belief that more than 10 percent of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid. The reality, of course, is far different. Even with the modest increases in recent years supported by both Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses, the international affairs budget totals less than 1.5 percent of the federal budget.

A couple of weeks ago, we joined together with a bipartisan group of Members to send our colleagues in the House and Senate a unique letter. The letter, co-authored by more than 55 Senators and more than 175 Representatives from both parties, calls on President Barack Obama to request a robust international affairs budget in the upcoming fiscal year. With partisanship at an all-time high, it is no small feat for Democrats and Republicans to be united on a major issue. As it stands now, development and diplomacy are badly underresourced elements of a comprehensive national security approach. But both parties recognize it is critical for the U.S. to have a full range of tools at its disposal to meet today’s global challenges.

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Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat, represents Virginia’s 11th district. Rep. Aaron Schock, a Republican, represents Illinois’ 18th district.

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