February 15, 2011

CARDIN CALLS FOR SMART FUNDING OF PROGRAMS THAT FURTHER OUR NATIONAL SECURITY GOALS, OPPOSES DEEP CUTS TO INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS BUDGET

Major Cuts to the International Affairs Budget, Just 1.7 Percent of the Federal Budget, would Harm U.S. National Security

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD),a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gave the following remarks in response to the international affairs budget.
 
"Like many American families still facing tough times, the President is asking that the federal government live within its means. This will require that we make some tough choices in every area of our federal budget. However, we cannot sacrifice our national security or forfeit our global leadership position for a better balance sheet.
 
"I support the proposals set out in President Obama's budget that improve smart funding for people and programs that further our national security goals.  By investing in new foreign service officers to support our development strategy, the President's budget further strengthens our international policy tools, while keeping American citizens safe with added security for Embassy and mission staff, and cutting waste where it can be found through implementation of procurement reform.
 
"By contrast, the recently released proposal by the House Republicans calls for a real 14% cut to the current international affairs budget, not merely the 4% touted by their Leadership. I recognize the very difficult fiscal climate our nation now faces, but this level of cuts is shortsighted and will have numerous negative side-effects, including hampering our ability to combat terrorism, particularly in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
"Development, along with defense and diplomacy, is one of three critical prongs that helps to ensure America's national security.  It is imperative that our development and foreign assistance programs receive adequate funding to carry out their high priority functions. These programs, funded through the international affairs budget, strengthen our national security, provide economic and political stability across the globe and fulfill our moral obligation to reduce poverty in developing nations. 
 
"I do not believe that all international affairs budget items should be removed from consideration for cuts -- inefficient programs should either be improved or eliminated -- but such a large scale cutback, as proposed by the new House Leadership, does a disservice to the valuable role that foreign assistance plays in U.S. involvement around the world." 
 
 
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