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HFAC Democrats to Speaker Ryan: Reject Cuts to American Diplomacy & Leadership

Mar 16, 2017
Press Release
Ranking Member Engel Leads Effort to Protect Investments in International Affairs and Block Cuts Dangerous to America’s National Security

WASHINGTON—Today, all Democratic members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs called on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to reject the Trump Administration’s plan to make a draconian cut of nearly one third to the Fiscal Year 2018 international affairs budget. In a letter to Speaker Ryan, the Members expressed their concerns over the Administration’s cuts to American diplomacy and global leadership. The letter also warned that such cuts could rattle international stability, making our own borders less secure over the long run.

The Members wrote, “Our diplomats settle disputes so that they do not have to be settled with bombs and bullets. And our development initiatives help countries lift themselves up, because areas mired in poverty often become hotbeds for instability and violence. The men and women in our armed services bravely put their lives on the line to protect our country. We owe it to them to exhaust every possible option before we send them into harm’s way. If we slash our investment in diplomacy and development, we are telling our servicemembers—and the American people—that we will take our chances down the road, even if that comes at a much higher cost in blood and treasure.”

The letter was signed by Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel (NY); Asia Subcommittee Ranking Member Brad Sherman (CA); Europe Subcommittee Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks (NY); Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Ranking Member Albio Sires (NJ); Representative Gerald E. Connolly (VA); Middle East Subcommittee Ranking Member Theodore E. Deutch (FL); Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (CA); Terrorism Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member William R. Keating (MA); Rep. David N. Cicilline (RI); Rep. Ami Bera (CA); Rep. Lois Frankel (FL); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI); Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX); Rep. Robin L. Kelly (IL); Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (PA); Rep. Dina Titus (NV); Rep. Norma J. Torres (CA); Rep. Bradley S. Schneider (IL); Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (NY); Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY); and Rep. Ted W. Lieu (CA).

The full text of the letter can be found here:

The Honorable Paul Ryan

Speaker

House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

We write to express our outrage at the Trump Administration’s plan to make a draconian cut of nearly one-third to the Fiscal Year 2018 international affairs budget. This massive reduction will undermine our diplomatic efforts and make the American people less safe. With instability and turmoil on the rise around the world, we urge you to ensure that the House of Representatives does not consider any legislation which would slash the international affairs budget.

Our diplomats settle disputes so that they do not have to be settled with bombs and bullets. And our development initiatives help countries lift themselves up, because areas mired in poverty often become hotbeds for instability and violence. The men and women in our armed services bravely put their lives on the line to protect our country. We owe it to them to exhaust every possible option before we send them into harm’s way. If we slash our investment in diplomacy and development, we are telling our servicemembers – and the American people – that we will take our chances down the road, even if that comes at a much higher cost in blood and treasure.

But, don’t just take our word for it. In 2013, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately. So I think it’s a cost benefit ratio. The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome of an apparent American withdrawal from the international scene.”

And as you know, on February 27th, more than 120 retired three-star and four-star generals sent you a letter urging Congress to “ensure that resources for the International Affairs Budget keep pace with the growing global threats and opportunities we face,” and noting that “Now is not the time to retreat.”

Today’s budget request will send a chilling shock wave across the globe. And those shock waves will come back on us. The diseases we don’t prevent will reach our shores. The conflicts we don’t help resolve will grow into the wars we need to fight. The places where we fail to plant the seeds of friendship today may tomorrow become fertile ground for violence and hatred for America.

Congress is a co-equal branch of government with the power of the purse. We urge you to use this power to stop the White House from making these extremely dangerous and short-sighted cuts to the international affairs budget.

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