American Leadership in the World

March 16, 2011 By Bill Lane and Bob Zachritz

This morning, we joined our colleagues from USGLC member organizations on Capitol Hill to personally make the case for a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.

Caterpillar and World Vision may not seem to have much in common, but we both know how investing 1% of our federal budget in international affairs programs earn important dividends for American taxpayers—one that repays itself many times over.

We spent our time meeting with Members of Congress and their staffs this morning because this issue is essential to our future.  Large cuts to the International Affairs Budget would damage our civilian efforts in all corners of the globe, harming our national security, our economic prosperity and our position as a moral leader in world.

By standing together, our message becomes powerful.  Members of our coalition met with nearly 70 Congressional offices this morning alone, and from the meetings we attended personally, we can attest our elected leaders care deeply about these issues.  However, they have to hear from their constituents and business and non-profit leaders back in their districts to put their beliefs into action.  So we urge you to take a moment, and let your voice be heard.

It is clear modest investments in the International Affairs Budget open the door to new, rapidly expanding markets in the developing world and provide American businesses with opportunities for exporting their goods and services.  Over 1 in 5 jobs in the country already depends on trade, and the more middle class customers our local businesses have around the world, the more jobs we can create right here at home.  But this investment isn’t just the smart thing to do, it also happens to be the right thing to do.  We demonstrate American leadership when we break the cycles of poverty, save millions of lives by working to eradicate dangerous diseases, and provide clean water to those most in need throughout the world.

We may come at this issue from different angles, but we couldn’t agree more that a strong and effective International Affairs budget helps our economy and ensures the U.S. remains a leader in the world.

Bill Lane is the Washington Director for Caterpillar, and Bob Zachritz is the Director of Advocacy and Government Relations for World Vision.  Both are members of the board of the USGLC.