Daschle and Frist: Invest in helping others help themselves overseas

June 7, 2010 By Eric Peckham

Former Sen. Tom Daschle
Former Sen. Bill FristPUT

In today’s Politico former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Bill Frist (R-TN), both advisors to the USGLC, urge Congress and the President to prioritize international affairs funding during their budget debate this summer.

Citing “our investment in helping others to help themselves overseas” as “one of the most cost-effective ways our government can keep us both safe and prosperous,” the two made a bipartisan call for supporting development and diplomatic programs. They spoke from past budget experience in highlighting the formidable return on investment that international affairs programs bring, “strengthening communities and governments,” complementing our military efforts with effective public diplomacy, and spurring exports which “account for approximately one out of every five American jobs.” At little more than one percent of the federal budget, the cost of these programs is quickly recuperated by the stability they encourage abroad and the foundations they build for American businesses looking to expand to new parts of the world.

Their message to Congress shows bipartisan understanding of the vital role the International Affairs Budget plays in keeping Americans safe and our economy strong. Increased emphasis on the necessity of development and diplomatic efforts to establish stability and improve America’s standing in the frontline states of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan is raising awareness among more and more members of Congress that our civilian-led efforts are critical to our national security.

Democrats and Republicans have always been able to work together when it comes to protecting our nation, and in this tense budget season, it is reassuring to see bipartisan support for the International Affairs Budget.