April 19, 2010

Broad Support Builds for the President’s International Affairs Budget Request

From Blue Dogs to Progressives, House Leadership Urged to Support Increasing Civilian Capacity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – From the Blue Dogs to the Progressives, impressive momentum is building from Democrats on Capitol Hill calling on their leadership to support the President in boosting funding for the International Affairs Budget.  Over the last month, several powerful letters signed by more than 110 Members of the House are calling on Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) and Budget Chairman Spratt (D-SC) to support the President’s FY 2011 $58.5 billion International Affairs Budget request, just as the annual budget and appropriations season is about to move into high gear.

“When the Blue Dogs and Progressives agree on anything on the budget, Chairman Spratt and Speaker Pelosi should listen,” said Liz Schrayer, USGLC Executive Director.  “Hats off to these Members of Congress for making this tiny fraction of the budget a priority and recognizing how critical it is to our national interests.”

“This is impressive to see such strong support from my former colleagues on Capitol Hill for the International Affairs Budget,” said former Congressman and Ambassador Mark Green (R-WI).  “This issue is bipartisan and crosses ideological lines as demonstrated not only by this growing momentum, but by the strong leadership of the previous Administration and President Bush, and now President Obama and his Administration.”

Spanning the diverse ideological spectrum of the Democratic Caucus, Members of the Blue Dog and New Democrat Coalitions, and the Congressional Black and Progressive Caucuses, have teamed up with senior Members of the Budget and Foreign Affairs Committees and over 50 retired four- and three-star generals and flag officers in sending letters to House Leadership urging their support of America’s civilian capacity.

These letters come on the heels of another recent letter supporting the International Affairs Budget request from over 50 retired military flag officers who are part of the National Security Advisory Council of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.  In December, a bipartisan group of 247 Members of Congress wrote President Obama asking for a robust International Affairs Budget request.

On the Senate side, a bipartisan letter in support of the International Affairs Budget request is being circulated by several Senators, including Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), George Voinovich (R-OH), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Susan Collins (R-ME).  The letter, signed by nearly 30 Senators, will be sent to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH).

The President’s FY11 International Affairs Budget request represents only 1.4% of the entire federal budget and less than 7% of national security funding, but funds America’s vital tools of development and diplomacy.  Together, these programs reduce disease, famine, instability and hopelessness that can create conditions where extremism and conflict take root.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world. 

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