April 14, 2023
Chairman Diaz-Balart, Ranking Member Lee: On behalf of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition – a diverse network of over 500 businesses and NGOs and bipartisan leaders from across the country – thank you for the opportunity to testify about the important resources provided in the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill. Today, I ask that you support a strong and effective International Affairs Budget funded at no less than $74.9 billion in FY24, including at least $72.9 billion for the FY24 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. This sustains our coalition’s topline funding recommendation from last year, despite the reality that the global challenges facing America have only escalated in the past twelve months.
I speak for our entire coalition of businesses, NGOs, faith-based organizations, veterans, farmers, mayors, and community leaders across the country in expressing gratitude for Congress’s longstanding bipartisan support for America’s development and diplomacy tools and for your personal leadership.
In the face of escalating global threats – from strategic competition with China to Russia’s war in Ukraine to historic humanitarian crises with skyrocketing levels of hunger, poverty, and migration worldwide – the stakes could not be higher for America’s global leadership and our ability to advance the security and economic interests of American families. Let me share three examples that illustrate the historic nature of today’s global threats and their impact on Americans at home.
The complexity and magnitude of these threats is one of the reasons current and former military leaders are often the first to call for greater investments in development and diplomacy. During testimony before Congress last month, U.S. AFRICOM Commander General Michael Langley reinforced the imperative of a “synchronized, whole-of-government approach” to protect America’s security and economic interests – noting that, “We call it the 3D approach, which is a toolkit of diplomacy, development, and defense. But one tool does not succeed without the whole kit. So, I will advocate for my State Department and USAID partners to receive the resources they need to succeed.” Further, in a recent letter to Congress, 18 former U.S. Combatant Commanders warned that “shortchanging our investment in these critical tools is dangerous to our own national interests.”
As this Subcommittee and this Congress evaluate the resources needed to address unprecedented global challenges and advance American interests, I urge you to act with clarity and strength to ensure investments in development and diplomacy meet the urgency of this moment.
What’s It Worth?
While instability halfway across the globe may seem far away for some, it is directly impacting the daily lives of American families, whether it is higher prices for gas and groceries or supply chain disruptions affecting American businesses and workers. The reality is – global stability and American stability are inextricably linked. The good news is that U.S. development, diplomacy, and foreign assistance programs are a proven and essential investment in building a safer, more prosperous America.
A Safer, More Secure America. Humanitarian, development, and food assistance are cost-effective tools to prevent and reduce conflict – helping to stabilize weak and fragile states, stem the drivers of extremism, and keep us safe at home. In fact, research has shown that every $1 the U.S. spends to prevent conflict saves an estimated $16 in response costs.
The urgency cannot be understated as converging global crises have dramatically increased instability, fueled conflict, and exacerbated humanitarian emergencies including hunger, climate, poverty, and migration. To highlight just one example – today seven in ten people facing crisis-level food insecurity live in countries already affected by fragility and conflict.
Americans’ Economic Security. With the IMF recently downgrading its projections for global growth, strong U.S. leadership on the world stage is critical to protect American jobs and grow America’s economy at a time of global economic uncertainty.
China is taking advantage of this moment to expand its global influence and advance its interests – many of which do not align with ours. From providing support to Russia as it continues its assault on Ukraine to expanding its influence and footprint in our own hemisphere, an emboldened China has serious economic and security implications for America. The International Affairs Budget is a powerful tool in America’s strategy to compete with China – leveraging U.S. diplomacy and global development tools by increasing our investments in development financing, economic assistance, infrastructure, and public-private partnerships, and offering a better alternative to China’s coercive practices. This is a clear win when it comes to outcompeting China.
Projecting American Values. America’s development and diplomacy programs help save lives and alleviate suffering – strengthening global stability and showcasing the best of our nation’s values. With authoritarianism on the rise, U.S. leadership to strengthen democratic resilience advances America’s security and economic prosperity by promoting more peaceful, just, and stable societies.
As we mark its 20th anniversary this year, PEPFAR has saved more than 25 million lives to date and built a global health infrastructure that supported the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and helped prevent the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak from becoming a global contagion. PEPFAR has been the cornerstone of U.S. global health leadership and America’s most successful global health program – none of which would have been possible without the unwavering support of Democratic and Republican administrations and bipartisan Members of Congress.
Strategic Investments to Meet Global Realities
Each year, Congress faces the difficult task of distributing finite resources across many priorities. This year is no exception. But the consequences of shortchanging America’s investments in our civilian international affairs toolkit are simply too great. As global crises escalate, Congress has an important opportunity to act with unity and purpose to provide the resources needed to truly meet the scope and scale of these threats.
Two years ago, the USGLC coordinated a needs-based assessment with input from a broad array of experts to better understand the investment levels needed across the regular International Affairs Budget to protect the health, safety, and economic interests of the American people. In March 2021, our assessment identified at least $14 billion in new international affairs resources across key programs and accounts – from humanitarian to global health to food security.
Last December, Congress acted on a bipartisan basis to increase core international affairs funding by 6% ($3.7 billion) – the most significant increase for the non-emergency International Affairs Budget after six years of largely flat funding. This was a critical step forward to meeting the moment and advancing U.S. interests at a time of growing global instability. Yet at the same time, when taken over a six-year timeframe this increase amounts to less than 0.7% per year.
Congress’s power of the purse is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. Members of Congress have an obligation to ensure taxpayer resources are spent effectively, accountably, and transparently to advance American interests. Over the past decade, Congress has passed more than 50 bipartisan bills to strengthen and reform U.S. development and foreign assistance programs on issues from food security to empowering women and girls to aid transparency. As a result, the 1% of the total federal budget provided for development and diplomacy has proven time and again to be a cost-effective investment that delivers a significant return for Americans.
Thanks to Congressional leadership, nearly 100% of foreign assistance is now available to view online at ForeignAssistance.gov. Moreover, this past year, Results for America awarded USAID a perfect score for its evidence-based evaluation policy and its performance management system, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is ranked first among U.S. federal agencies and fifth in the world for transparency and accountability, according to the 2022 Aid Transparency Index issued by Publish What You Fund.
Thank you for your support of America’s international affairs programs and your commitment to strengthening the critical resources needed to advance America’s global leadership. Our coalition looks forward to working closely with you and your colleagues in the coming weeks and months to ensure that funding for the FY24 State-Foreign Operations bill reflects the unprecedented challenges and opportunities we face today to advanc
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is 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.