USGLC Business Leaders on Capitol Hill

May 21, 2010 By Jordan Smith

 width=This morning, business leaders went to Capitol Hill as part of World Trade Week to tell lawmakers and Congressional staff how critical the International Affairs Budget is to their bottom lines.  The panelists highlighted the many ways the International Affairs Budget is integral to opening markets for American products and spurring job and economic growth both domestically and abroad.

Nancy Ziuzin Schlegel with Lockheed Martin said the International Affairs Budget is “preventive medicine” for the global economy, and the programs it funds are a “toolbox for global security and economic prosperity.”  To bring home the argument about how important exports are to our economy, John Murphy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reminded the audience that for every 777 aircraft Boeing manufactures, over 11,000 U.S. businesses contribute service or parts to its creation.  And 97 percent of exporters in the U.S. are small businesses.

As forty percent of U.S. exports go to developing nations, it is critically important that we provide support for emerging markets, which requires strong humanitarian programs and funding from the International Affairs Budget.  Bill Lane with Caterpillar remarked “the road to development begins with a road,” meaning that we have to invest in countries now to grow new markets for our goods in the future.

Right now Senators Kerry (D-MA), Lugar (R-IN), Bond (R-MO), Durbin (R-IL) and Feinstein (D-CA) are circulating a letter for signature among their colleagues to urge Senate Appropriations Chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) to provide no less than the President’s $58.8 billion request for the International Affairs Budget.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce backed them up by sending a letter all Senators encouraging them to do the same, saying “U.S. businesses understand that diplomacy and development assistance play vital roles in building economic prosperity, protecting national security, and promoting America’s humanitarian values.”