Hillary Clinton’s Testimony on the State Department Budget

This morning, Hillary Clinton testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the State Department budget requests for FY 2012.  Clinton opened by discussing the importance of the State Department’s efforts in Libya through isolating their leadership and suspending them from the Human Rights Council, as well as USAID’s focus on supplying Libya with food and medical supplies as well as helping those fleeing the violence into surrounding countries.  Clinton explained the importance of needing a State Department budget that supports efforts such as these, which are vital national security tools.  The core budget request of the State Department is $47 billion, which: supports programs and relationships in every country in the world except North Korea, supports vital civilian missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, trains Mexican police to fight the drug cartels and help to secure the border, helps countries like Egypt and Tunisia to rebuild their countries into strong and stable democracies, and funds global health programs for HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.  Clinton closed by saying the 16% budget cut from State Department and USAID passed by the House are devastating to our national security.  (Click here for Clinton’s testimony.)

Click here for Chairman John Kerry’s opening statement.
Click here for Ranking Senator Richard Lugar’s opening statement.

One thought on “Hillary Clinton’s Testimony on the State Department Budget

  1. Harry Blaney March 2, 2011 / 3:53 PM

    While Secretary Clinton’s strong statement about how cuts to our diplomacy and assistance budgets would be a disaster is correct, it is likely to fall on deaf and dumb ears and brains of the of the myopic and narrow “tea party types” in Congress and sadly some of the very conservative traditional Republicans given their votes for the ridiculous 16% cut they are demanding in a world that gets more dangerous by the hour and requires fast responses. If we do not want to deploy our military then “preventive diplomacy” and civilian assistance is our best tool.

    It is interesting if not sad, that at a time when the Right Wing is criticizing president Obama for his ‘in action” in the Middle East, they are taking away the resources that are needed now and in the future to respond to the most basic and needed peaceful help and means we can and should supply so that the citizens of the Middle East know we are on their side for democracy and their need for humanitarian help.

    On that subject, as a former diplomat, I think Obama was right to be careful in the early stages of the Libyan revolt, before Americans could get out of the country. But it is equally clear we were working back stage to organize collective action and policies to bring this conflict to a good conclusion.

    A lot of people talked about “forceful action” but no one was willing to put ‘boots on the ground.” Further, the Libyans seem to be saying that at the moment they do not want foreign troops in their country……but perhaps would accept some UN action especially establishment of a no fly zone. Even that will be hard…no ally has so far said they would enforce this. And it seems only America has moved contingency assets to the region in any numbers. I think Obama is playing this wisely but does need to act swiftly before a true civil war brings more suffering to the region.

    Too bad Republicans also are cutting funds for protection of our Embassy personnel who have to brave dangers to do the job that America sends them to exceedingly dangerous places to do.

    Time we need to rethink our national security priorities and help build a democratic and peaceful and prosperous Middle East. To be on the side of progress has costs and your can’t without resources be effective…..and not, as the New York Times has been saying about the Republican budget,is “penny and pound foolish.”

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