CEOs for Global Leadership

July 28, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations approved legislation that contained deep and disproportionate cuts to the International Affairs Budget, slashing non-war related programs to 20 percent below FY 2010 levels. In this morning’s Washington Times, Chris Policinski President and CEO of Land O’Lakes and Greg Page, CEO of Cargill, argued that the International Affairs Budget is essential for American businesses and future economic growth. They wrote, “In our own companies, we’ve seen firsthand how international development supports opportunity for American businesses.”

Must Reads

USGLC In the News

Growing American jobs through foreign aid (Chris Policinski and Greg Page, Washington Times Op-Ed)

The simple fact is commerce on a global scale is good for business and the economy – and it creates jobs. One of the most cost-effective ways to do that is through U.S. international affairs programs where government and business come together to create not only goodwill but opportunities for sustaining and growing U.S. jobs and potential markets. Representing about 1 percent of our federal budget, this funding promotes stability and economic growth around the world through development and diplomatic operations. It helps to build the kind of peaceful, more prosperous societies that desire – and can afford – American products and services.

Panel in Virginia Beach discusses foreign policy (Aaron Applegate, Virginian-Pilot)

Despite economic troubles at home, U.S. investment and engagement abroad is essential to national security and prosperity, panelists at a Regent University forum argued on Wednesday. The forum was put on by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a network of 400 business, nongovernmental organizations and foreign-policy experts. The coalition supports government funding for foreign assistance, which this year was $52.9 billion, or 1.4 percent of the total federal budget, according to the group. That includes nonmilitary operations such as diplomacy, development assistance and counterterrorism programs.

Who’s In the News

Our modest UN contribution has yielded a strong return (Rep. Gerry Connolly, The Hill)

As a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, I have over many years observed the benefits of paying our dues — and the consequences of being delinquent. The U.N. is like most large and complex organizations: It requires a constant need for vigilance and oversight to ensure that funds are spent efficiently and effectively, and that its mandated tasks are successfully fulfilled. Yet, we also need to acknowledge the great improvements that have occurred because of U.S. influence and leadership. As my colleagues determine our contribution to the U.N., it is critical to remember what we get in return for our dollars — a focus on our strategic interests, burden-sharing in maintaining global security and an infusion of investment into our economy.

Sen. Mark Kirk is leading the charge for a robust American foreign policy (Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller)

While many Democrats and GOP members argue America can no longer afford to finance its role in the world, Kirk says that “in some ways we can no longer afford not to have a role in the world.” Kirk, who holds the seat once occupied by President Barack Obama, isn’t the only member of Congress fighting back against the current “come home America” moment. But he is among the most vocal and intellectually capable. Before being elected to the House in 2000, Kirk was general counsel for what was then the House Committee on International Relations. Since 1989, he has served as an intelligence officer in the U.S Naval Reserves, even deploying twice to Afghanistan while a member of Congress.

Smart Power

Principles in Action: Innovation and Partnerships Spur Global Health Legislation (Aaron Emmel, ModernizeAid Blog)

Last month US Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) introduced a new bill, the 21st Century Global Health Technology Act (H.R.2144). In addition to supporting innovation at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the bill also promotes transparency and accountability by providing legislative authority for some of USAID’s work in this area and by directing the agency to provide annual reports to Congress on its global health research and development activities.  The bill also calls for these activities to be aligned with a global development strategy, to help ensure a more efficient and coherent structure for US foreign assistance.

Politics/Foreign Policy

House panel approves $47.2 billion foreign aid bill, slashes money for State Department (AP)

A House panel on Wednesday approved legislation that would make deep cuts in State Department money and foreign assistance, a reflection of lawmakers’ debt-driven demands for austerity but a blow to assistance programs for famine-stricken parts of Africa. The Republican-crafted bill would provide $47.2 billion for the next budget, $8.6 billion less than the current amount. Included in the overall amount is close to $8 billion for the Global War on Terror Fund, which covers the cost of security and counterterrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations approved the bill by voice vote. “We are facing a global recession unlike anything in recent memory,” said Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, chairwoman of the subcommittee. “Our debt is well over $14 trillion. Today, every dollar counts. This bill reflects these new realities.”

Congress, please add sugar to your tea party (Linda Delgado, The Hill Blogs)

It is extraordinary to see how far we seem to have come down the road of self-interest. We know that there are many members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, who understand and care about serving the long-term interests of the United States by tackling global poverty. Unfortunately, their voices are not being heard. Today, we witnessed the passage of a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations bill that eliminates even the relatively miniscule amounts of funding for such programs in the name of cutting our deficit. But this only puts many of our most vulnerable global citizens – women and children – at further risk. Perhaps the Subcommittee forgot that the entire international affairs budget, which covers both diplomacy and foreign aid, is only about 1% of the federal budget. And only half of that is spent on poverty-focused foreign aid.