Congress Sends Bipartisan Message to President: Invest in Diplomatic & Development Programs

U.S. Global Leadership Campaign Applauds Overwhelming Congressional Support

to Increase the U.S. International Affairs Budget Request

Dec 27, 2006, 00:00 ET from U.S. Global Leadership Campaign

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, a record-breaking
 162 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle urged President George
 W. Bush to make a greater investment in America's diplomatic and
 development programs as the Administration prepares its FY 2008 Federal
 Budget Request. In letters to the President, Members of both the Senate and
 the House called for increased funding for the global programs encompassed
 in the U.S. International Affairs Budget, which are vital to ensuring our
 national security, building economic prosperity, and strengthening
 humanitarian values.
     "In this challenging political environment -- and as the legislative
 calendar came to a close -- it is truly remarkable that a record number of
 Senators and Representatives made it a priority to send the President a
 strong, bipartisan message on the importance of the International Affairs
 Budget to America's standing in the world," said George Ingram, President
 of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign.
     Despite a packed legislative agenda and with the end of the
 Congressional session quickly approaching, this outstanding effort was
 spearheaded in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Hagel
 (R-NE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Norm Coleman (R-MN), with a record 53
 Senators from both sides of the aisle signing the letter. On the House
 side, Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA-28), Christopher Shays (R-CT-4),
 Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI-9), and Vic Snyder (D-AR-2) drove the effort to
 garner more than 109 Republican and Democratic signatures on the letter to
 President Bush.
     In order to meet the complex global challenges and opportunities of the
 21st century, it is critical that the U.S. adequately invest in the
 International Affairs Budget. However, despite moderate increases in recent
 years, the relative funding level for international programs is at a
 historic low. Today, the International Affairs Budget is 15 percent less in
 real terms than it was at the height of the Cold War.
     "Today, more than ever, it is critical that we continue to fund our
 U.S. International Affairs Budget," said Sen. Feinstein. "U.S. foreign
 assistance programs offer relief to the millions of victims of poverty,
 starvation, and illiteracy found throughout the developing world. By giving
 these communities in need the tools to target these root causes of
 terrorism, we not only help promote basic humanitarian values, we also help
 establish greater stability and security abroad, and encourage greater
 economic prosperity here at home."
     For a little more than one percent of the total U.S. Federal Budget,
 the International Affairs Budget supports numerous programs around the
 globe that ensure the security, prosperity, and well-being of Americans. A
 greater investment in the International Affairs Budget in FY 2008 will
 provide the U.S. with a substantial array of foreign policy tools and
 capabilities to combat global terrorism, stem the growth of global poverty,
 wage the war against HIV/AIDS, and encourage economic activity at home and
 around the globe.
     "The U.S. International Affairs Budget supports many critical elements
 of the struggle for hearts and minds, including international broadcasting
 and other public diplomacy, educational exchange programs, and efforts to
 promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law," said Rep. Berman. "We
 need to increase the International Affairs Budget -- not as a favor to
 others, but as a means to strengthen our own national security."
     In today's volatile world, the International Affairs Budget is
 imperative to establishing global stability and protecting Americans at
 home and abroad. Additionally, as global markets evolve, the initiatives
 supported by the International Affairs Budget increase economic
 opportunities, promote our business interests around the world and create
 American jobs through increased exports. Our international programs also
 demonstrate America's commitment to our humanitarian values and democratic
     "As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I can attest to the substantial
 contributions foreign assistance programs make to economic development,
 higher living standards and improved health and nutrition," noted Rep.
     Currently, the proposed FY 2007 International Affairs Budget totals
 35.1 billion dollars -- a mere 1.2 percent of the overall FY 2007 Federal
 Budget -- yet it provides the U.S. with priceless opportunities to generate
 much needed allies, partners and friends.
     About the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign
     The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign (USGLC) is a broad-based,
 nationwide coalition of businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
 and community leaders that advocates for a strong U.S. International
 Affairs Budget. Members of the USGLC -- a vibrant, influential network of
 400 organizations and thousands of individuals -- engage policymakers in
 the nation's capital and educate the public around the country to build
 support for these essential programs.
     The International Affairs Budget provides America with the fundamental
 tools to meet the global challenges of the 21st century and is critical to
 protecting our national security, building economic prosperity, and
 strengthening humanitarian values. For more information, visit

SOURCE U.S. Global Leadership Campaign