Letter to House and Senate Leadership on the International Affairs Budget

The following is a letter signed by the Center for International Policy and various civil society organizations.

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May 26th, 2011

The Hon Speaker Boehner Minority Leader Pelosi
Majority Leader Reid
Minority Leader McConnell
Chairman Rogers
Chairman Inouye

Dear Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Chairman Rogers and Chairman Inouye,

On behalf of our supporters, we are writing to urge you to fully fund President Obama’s request for the international affairs budget in your top line numbers for the fiscal year 2012 budget.

There is recognition across parties and military and civilian leadership that funding critical State Department and USAID programs is in the best interest of the United States. As CentCom Commander General James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March of this year, “Of course, we cannot achieve our broader objectives in the region through military means alone. Our efforts require coordination and a spirit of collaboration between highly integrated civilian military teams. Our civilian colleagues need your full support even in this difficult fiscal environment to undertake their essential role in today’s complex environment.”

Recent international developments make the need for this funding ever more apparent. Whether handling the transition to a nonmilitary strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, aiding burgeoning democratic governments in the Middle East and North Africa, or assisting victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the work of our diplomats and aid workers has never been more critical in building global stability and improving America’s relations with the international community.

While we recognize the financial difficulties facing the US government, these critical programs make up a mere 1.7% of the FY12 federal budget. This funding is urgently needed to catch up to 21st century global challenges after years of neglect. In the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), ranking member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, cutting funding for these programs is “a penny wise and a pound foolish.” There are other areas in the federal budget to which cuts can be made without detrimental impacts on US security strategy.

We were disappointed in the 14.8% cut from the president’s request in the FY11 budget passed in April, and strongly urge you to consider full funding of the 2012 request.

Sincerely,

William C. Goodfellow
Executive Director
Center for International Policy

Marie Dennis
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Simone Campbell
Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

David Robinson
Executive Director
Pax Christi USA

Paul Kawika Martin
Policy & Political Director
Peace Action

Rebecca Griffin
Political Director
Peace Action West

Peter Wilk, M.D.
Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Lisa Schirch
Director
3D Security Initiative

James E. Winkler
General Secretary
General Board of Church and Society
The United Methodist Church

Susan Shaer
Executive Director
Women’s Action for New Directions

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