June 14, 2016

500+ Top State Leaders on Capitol Hill Today to Urge Congressional Support of International Affairs Budget

With Rising Global Challenges, General Petraeus Lends Support for Strengthening America’s Civilian Foreign Policy Tools, Development, Diplomacy

WASHINGTON D.C. — As some rhetoric on the campaign trail suggests that American should turn inward, more than 500 top veterans, business, faith, and non-profit leaders have gathered in Washington this week to demonstrate why U.S. international affairs programs are critical to combating global threats.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) two-day State Leaders Summit began yesterday with remarks by General David H. Petraeus on the importance of strengthening our nation’s critical civilian tools, alongside defense, to advance America’s interests at home and abroad.

General Petraeus said the military “can’t do it all, we need other agencies – certainly State and USAID foremost among them.” He added that development and diplomacy “does help enormously once you’ve made the security gains… you have to cement those gains, that’s just the foundation.”

“Our top state leaders have gathered here in Washington to send a strong message to both Congress and candidates: in an interconnected world, our nation’s diplomats and development workers make us safer and stronger,” said Liz Schrayer, USGLC President and CEO.

On Capitol Hill today, USGLC leaders will hold more than 200 meetings with their lawmakers, including half the Senate and more than one-third of the House of Representatives, to advocate for a strong International Affairs Budget.

The USGLC group will hear from foreign assistance champions: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN).

Monday’s Summit featured a powerhouse panel of the five leading women who head America’s global development agencies: Gayle Smith of USAID, Carrie Hessler-Radelet of the Peace Corps, Dana J. Hyde of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Elizabeth Littlefield of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and Leocadia I. Zak of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

“Whatever your concerns about global issues, development is the best solution there is… The idea is that we build capacity, we invest in the human potential, and then we get out of the way,” said Gayle Smith, USAID Administrator.

Top quotes from Monday’s 2016 election and foreign policy forum:

Former Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ):
If he were briefing Donald Trump, the Senator said he would urge the candidate to embrace the values that “have made us the greatest country in the world for over 200 years… We have to show by example the kind of things that America can help others achieve… We do that through diplomacy, our aid programs.”

Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN):
“Elections are points of leverage that force people to talk about these issues in sophisticated ways that look for solutions… By engaging in the rest of the world, it’s about economic security, it’s about physical security.”

Former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI):
“You can prevent a lot of problems, you can prevent conflict if you have a robust diplomatic and economic relationship with a country… The return on investment is huge.”

Former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN):
Underscoring the importance of diplomacy, the Senator said, “We can solve problems without having to send troops in as the first option.”

Liz Schrayer, USGLC President and CEO, is available for interviews today as USGLC’s state leaders hold 200+ meetings on Capitol Hill.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.orgis a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.