Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified on Capitol Hill before four separate committees on February 25th and 25th, to make the case for the President’s $58.5 billion FY11 International Affairs Budget request. In her testimony before each of the committees, Secretary Clinton talked about the importance of the International Affairs Budget to America’s national security, as well as the need for these investments to “assure the future of American leadership, and help build the foundations of peace, stability, and prosperity in the years ahead.” She also discussed where these increased investments would be focused, including in the “Frontline States” of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, key development initiatives supported by the President – global health, food security, climate change, and humanitarian assistance, and the need to continue to rebuild the civilian capacity at both State and USAID.
Throughout the hearings, both Democrats and Republicans expressed support for the International Affairs Budget. However, a number of Members also spoke frankly about the very difficult budget environment facing Congress this year, and the challenges this poses for fully funding the FY11 International Affairs Budget. In both their opening statements, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) emphasized the Administration’s request was only a 2.8% increase above FY10 spending, including the pending $4.5 billion supplemental request and “forward funding” from the FY09 supplemental.
Excerpts from Senate & House Committee Hearings on the FY11 International Affairs Budget