February 4, 2008

Administration Requests Essential Increase for International Affairs Budget

February 4, 2008

U.S. Global Leadership Campaign Urges Bipartisan Congressional Support

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, members of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign applaud the Administration’s FY09 International Affairs Budget request, a critical step to ensure that America has the necessary tools to protect our national security, promote economic prosperity, and demonstrate our humanitarian values. The requested increase is essential to effectively meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

“The United States faces many complex global challenges. Additional resources proposed for the International Affairs Budget are essential elements of U.S foreign policy in protecting national security, strengthening humanitarian values and building economic prosperity,” said Bill Lane, Co-President of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign and Washington Director for Government Affairs at Caterpillar. “While there are certain to be real differences in budget priorities, I truly believe the Administration and Congress will put the national interest ahead of partisanship on this issue.”

Earlier today, the President submitted his FY 2009 Federal Budget request, including $39.5 billion for the International Affairs Budget. While the recommended funding level represents a 16% or $5.5 billion increase over the FY08 budget, this increase represents only 0.18% of the entire proposed FY09 Federal Budget. In comparison, present spending on the International Affairs Budget is 11% below Cold War spending levels.

The request follows in line with recent calls by Defense Secretary Gates and three significant reports by foreign policy and national security experts (HELP Commission, CSIS Smart Power Commission, and by Senator Lugar) to elevate the importance of America’s diplomatic and development programs. “This increase will give our next president the ability to meet global issues that will affect our country,” said Tom Ridge, First U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. “The real security challenges for the next administration will not be primarily military, but rather diplomatic, economic and humanitarian in scope and nature.”

In December a record-setting 186 Members of Congress – including 61 Senators and 125 Representatives – signed a bipartisan letter to the President urging his Administration to request increased funding for the International Affairs Budget as an essential component of the national security budget. Nancy Lindborg, President of Mercy Corps and USGLC Co-President stated, “We urge Congress to support no less than the Administration’s International Affairs Budget request. These programs are vital for addressing global instability and poverty while advancing global health, economic prosperity and restoring America’s global image and moral leadership.”

“The Administration’s FY09 International Affairs Budget request reflects the bipartisan consensus that these programs are critical to our nation’s security and economic prosperity. The requested increase is long over due and it is now up to Congress to make the right decision,” said Lee Hamilton, former Congressman and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission.

While encouraged by the overall increase, USGLC leaders raised concerns that investments in long-term development programs, such as child survival and humanitarian assistance, are not keeping pace with global needs. Although supportive of the President’s PEPFAR, MCC and malaria initiatives, the USGLC restated its concerns that these new initiatives be funded with additional money as originally promised and not at the expense of existing programs.

The global initiatives funded by the International Affairs Budget build markets for U.S. exports, provide for U.S. embassy personnel and security, and promote good governance practices that strengthen democracies. They also facilitate the formation of international coalitions, fund nonproliferation and anti-terrorism efforts, and help people around the globe build a future of hope and opportunity.
About the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign
The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign (USGLC) is a broad-based, nationwide coalition of businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community leaders that advocates for a strong U.S. International Affairs Budget. Members of the USGLC – a vibrant, influential network of 400 organizations and thousands of individuals – engage policymakers in the nation’s capital and educate the public around the country to build support for these essential programs.

The International Affairs Budget provides America with the fundamental tools to meet the global challenges of the 21st century and is critical to protecting our national security, building economic prosperity and strengthening humanitarian values. The International Affairs Budget provides the U.S. with invaluable opportunities to generate much needed allies, partners and friends. For additional information, visit www.usglc.org.

# # #