April 25, 2017

House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on the Budget

Title: The Budget, Diplomacy, and Development
Committee: House Foreign Affairs Committee
Date: March 28, 2017
Time: 10:00 am

Stephen D. Krasner, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
Ms. Danielle Pletka
Senior Vice President for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
The Honorable R. Nicholas Burns
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
(Former Under Secretary for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State)

This hearing included a detailed discussion of the White House’s “skinny budget” and the disproportionate nature of the cuts.

Key Quotes:
“To state, as OMB Director Mulvaney did, that the Trump Administration has presented to Congress ‘a hard power budget, not a soft power budget’, betrays a deep misunderstanding of the essential value of diplomacy and development to our security and of our ability to be successful in the world. More than 120 retired senior U.S. Military leaders affirmed their unequivocal support to the State Department and USAID in their recent, open letter to the Congress. Secretary Mattis, Chairman Dunford and many other active duty military leaders have said the same publicly since the alarming State/AID budget cuts were announced.” – Hon. Nick Burns

“Concerns regarding this budget should not be partisan. Since Trump announced his plans to cut 30% of the State Department’s budget, policy experts, senior military officials, and faith-based groups have all spoken out about the dangerous ramifications. Over 100 Christian leaders including the 2017 Inauguration speakers Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, who wrote to Congressional leaders on March 16 and stated that it is a moral responsibility to ‘urge you to protect the International Affairs Budget. We cannot turn our backs to those in desperate need.’” – Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)

“I’m concerned about how cuts would impact other priorities – including efforts to combat terrorists, poachers and human traffickers. U.S. leadership was key to stopping Ebola in West Africa, and continued engagement is needed to address future threats before they hit our shores.  And many are rightly worried about how proposed cuts will impact humanitarian assistance at a time when more than 65 million people have been displaced by conflict and famine looms in four countries.” – Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA)

“I’m hopeful that as we move forward with next year’s spending bills that we continue to provide our diplomatic and development efforts the support they need, and the support they received under Republican and Democratic presidents alike.” – Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY)

“Today American is confronting unprecedented instability and growing humanitarian crises around the world. All of which have a direct impact on our national security and economic interests at home. Completely slashing the 150 account will not address our debt crisis. Understand I’m one of the guys who came up here to get rid of foreign aid. But after four years, I’ve become learned in this area, and realize we can’t, as much as I’d like to, get rid of foreign aid. We have to use it responsibly, and we rely on people like you to direct us and make sure that our foreign aid is used properly. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of our borders, U.S. global and economic leadership in foreign assistance generates significant returns on investments here at home. And I can go on here – the investment in foreign aid when it is targeted and managed correctly, can yield great returns and help increase trade.  Trade not only that is vital to my state of Florida where it support over 2.5 million jobs, but to the entire United States and the world economy.”  – Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)

“Every priority of this committee is threatened under this President’s proposed budget. But I am encouraged by what I heard today from members on both sides who remain committed to defending a robust foreign policy and all pillars of that foreign policy.” – Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)

“The idea that the U. S. can now plan for major cuts in diplomacy and development because we are approaching an era of no foreign wars is illusory and ahistorical. I wish that we lived in such a world. But, the short and mid-term trend lines in the Middle East, Afghanistan, East Asia and elsewhere bely such a hope.” – Hon. Nick Burns