Bipartisan Support for a Robust International Affairs Budget

November 5, 2009 By Richard Parker

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.

Make sure you take action and let your Members of Congress know how important the International Affairs Budget is!