April 23, 2007

National Leaders Call for Increased Investment in the International Affairs Budget

April 23, 2007

Bipartisan Business, NGO Coalition Praises Obama, Bush & Edwards for Prioritizing U.S. Global Engagement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign commends our national leaders for embracing the United States International Affairs Budget which funds efforts to promote global stability and better ensure the security and well-being of all Americans. As a result of recent remarks and actions by President George W. Bush, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), former Senator John Edwards and other policymakers, the discussion about the importance of our diplomatic, humanitarian and economic programs has been raised to a new level.

In a speech today at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Senator Obama, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on the U.S. government to double foreign assistance funding by 2012 – an investment that would provide basic education and medical treatment for millions of children, as well as access to clean water for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

“The USGLC applauds Senator Obama’s request to increase funding for America’s international programs over the next five years,” said George Ingram, President of the USGLC. “We thank Senator Obama for his leadership on the U.S. International Affairs Budget and encourage other national leaders – including all of the 2008 Presidential candidates – to articulate their views about the importance of development and diplomatic initiatives to achieving peace and security at home and fighting poverty abroad.”

Recognizing the need to invest in our foreign policy toolkit, President George W. Bush included an unprecedented $39.8 billion for the International Affairs Budget in his FY 2008 Federal Budget request to Congress. While this figure represents a significant increase, there is still more that can be done.

The International Affairs Budget allows the U.S. to address complex global challenges and opportunities, but despite recent increases, many international programs remain under funded. Today, the International Affairs Budget is 17 percent less in real terms than it was at the height of the Cold War.

In this regard, former Senator Edwards also proposed a substantial increase in assistance to fight global poverty and a “new Cabinet-level position within the White House …[to] coordinate global development policies across the federal government.”

“The USGLC is pleased to see that our national leaders recognize the role of the International Affairs Budget in providing America with countless opportunities to generate much needed allies, partners and friends,” added Ingram.

As the U.S. global engagement discussion takes the national stage, the FY 2008 International Affairs Budget enters a critical period. Congress is preparing for a joint conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the FY 2008 Budget Resolution – including the House’s proposed $1.2 billion cut to the Administration’s request for foreign assistance. The potential cut would be a detrimental blow to programs around the globe such as health initiatives, disaster assistance, and peacekeeping efforts in Darfur.

“We couldn’t be more pleased that our leaders are focusing on the importance of America’s development, economic and diplomatic programs,” noted Bill Lane, Caterpillar’s Washington Director for Governmental Affairs. “Now, it’s time for action. The business and NGO members of the USGLC urge the Congress to heed the call from leaders on both sides of the aisle and fully fund the President’s request of $39.8 billion for the FY 2008 International Affairs Budget.”

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. For more information, visit www.usglc.org.

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