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Congressional Budget for the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2010

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET FOR THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2010 -- (Senate - April 01, 2009)

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AMENDMENT NO. 732

Mr. KERRY. I thank the distinguished Senator.

That was one of the more intriguing half hours we have spent in the Senate in a long time. I might add, it is sort of interesting that we are haggling about an amendment which raises one of those great red herrings on the subject of global climate change and cap and trade because we already have a cap-and-trade system in America. It is not an automatic tax increase. It is not going to, if properly structured, result in a tax increase. We like to tilt against goblins around here sometimes. This is one of those amendments that do that in a very political way.

I ask that amendment No. 732 be called up.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. KERRY], for himself, Mr. Lugar, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Voinovich, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Kaufman, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Dodd, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Brown, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Casey, and Mr. Corker, proposes an amendment numbered 732.

Mr. KERRY. I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, over the first 9 years of this new century, we have learned a lot about national security. We learned the hard way in 2001. Since then, with two wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan, and also with the global economic crisis we face today, we understand the degree to which in a globalized world our problems are interconnected. Ultimately, our security is interconnected. We are currently endangered by weak states and failed states as well as by strong states because those weak and failed states become places where terrorism can flourish. We are endangered also by diseases that know no borders, by climate change half a world away. We are endangered when we allow chaos and crisis to create conditions for ideologies of radical hatred and violence to take root.

It is clear to all Members, who are, all of them, no matter what committee on which they serve, forced to think hard about how to protect our country, that it requires a lot more than just a strong military in order to provide that protection. It requires, above all, in this new world in which we live, a strengthened commitment to diplomacy and to development. To put this as simply and as bluntly as possible, that is why passing a robust foreign affairs budget is a matter not only of America's world leadership but also of our practical national security at home.

I call to the attention of my colleagues the words of Secretary of Defense Bob Gates spoken almost a year and a half ago in Kansas where he gave a speech while serving as President Bush's Secretary of Defense. What he said there is the following:

What is clear to me is that there is a need for a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security--diplomacy, strategic communication, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development.

The other day, I was told the story of our National Security Adviser, former Marine Commandant Jim Jones, who was commenting how we have powerful, enormous ships off the shores of Lebanon, but Hezbollah is building schools and building homes and winning the hearts and minds of people in that divided and volatile country by doing so. In effect, he described a situation where, as powerful as our military is, we are not able to win the contest for ideas at the center of security issues today.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, our former colleague, testified in her confirmation the following:

The relatively small but important amount of money we do spend on foreign aid is in the best interests of the American people and promotes our national security and advances our interests and reflects our values.

When our soldiers and generals join our top diplomats in demanding increased civilian capacity and increased civilian funding, even in the midst of this economic crisis, that is when you know there is not only a growing consensus, there is a sense of urgency behind the strengthening of our civilian mission.

We just had an elaborate, long period where I think three studies were commissioned by President Bush, and then President Obama recommissioned another evaluation of what is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is clear that we cannot achieve our objectives unless we have the kind of robust budget in the foreign affairs account President Obama asked for. Regrettably, that is not what the budget resolution currently calls for, even when we add the supplemental budgets to it. It falls about $4 billion short from the $53.8 billion the President asked for.

I believe that returning diplomacy and development to their rightful place is not going to be achieved by talking about it. It is going to take money to drive civilian foreign policy. If it keeps us safer, and it is the consensus of our military and our diplomats that it does that, then that is money well spent. Full funding of the President's international affairs budget is a vital step toward greater civilian capacity.

I urge colleagues to support this amendment. Senator Lugar, Senators Leahy, Voinovich, Durbin, Kaufman, Menendez, Dodd, Feinstein, Brown, Sanders, Lieberman, Casey, and Corker have all joined together to cosponsor this amendment. We ask for the approval of the Senate to add $4 billion worth of funding to the President's fiscal year 2010 international affairs budget request for the function 150 account. There is an offset. The offset that would pay for this transfer would come from the function 920 account.

The reality is that we are just not doing enough today to invest in the vital components of both diplomacy and development. I was recently in the Middle East, in Egypt and Jordan and in the West Bank and Israel and Syria, Lebanon. I saw firsthand the degree to which people we support in many ways are struggling to push back against enormous spending by Iran and other actors who seek to destabilize the region. If the United States talks about democracy and doesn't support people in the same way the people trying to disrupt it do, we lose our credibility and, more importantly, we walk away from people who are literally putting their lives on the line to live up to the standards we have set and the beliefs we have espoused so powerfully.

It is extraordinary to me that the funding for the Department of Defense today, with all of these restraints we see on its ability to achieve our goals, as powerful as we know it is and as much as we admire the sacrifices and the extraordinary capability of our modern military--the fact is, we spent over half a trillion dollars on it. Then in 2008, the Army added about 7,000 soldiers to the total. I supported that. I believed we needed to do that to relieve pressure on the current deployments. But 7,000 soldiers is more people than serve in the entire Foreign Service every year all the time. The fact is, 1,100 Foreign Service officers could be hired for the cost of a single C-17 military cargo plane, and $4 billion, which is what we are looking for here, is less than 2 percent of what the Government has given to AIG over the course of the last year and a half.

This is a vital context to put this discussion into. We have to decide around here what is really important to us. What really makes a difference to the security and safety of the American people? The President requested $53.8 billion in this year to fund next year's budget. That is an increase of 8 percent over last year's funding level of 49.8.

Why is this so important? Well, first of all, let me put this in context, if I can. The total request of the President for this entire context of America's security comes to about 1.4 percent of our whole budget. In fact, if you break out the entire national security budget, which is our defense, homeland security, all the components of security, you are only talking about 6.8 percent of the entire national security budget of our country for some of the most important things that prevent people from becoming terrorists or from being able to engage in their terrorist acts with impunity.

Some people try to assert that the President's request has increased 41 percent from last year's total of $38 billion. Let me say very clearly, right now, that is not accurate. The figure of $38 billion does not include last year's supplemental appropriations. And those supplemental appropriations raised the total to about $50 billion.

What President Obama did was break the practice of past Presidents of sending in a phony half budget or a three-quarter budget and then we do the rest of it through the supplementals. He decided the American people ought to see it as it is, they ought to know what we are doing, we ought to make the request we need. So he put in the request for the $53 billion because that is, in fact, reflecting what we actually spent last year, plus what we need to do for Afghanistan and Pakistan in this year. This is a more straightforward way of doing business, frankly. Rather than hiding the amount of money or massaging the spending figures by tucking extra spending into the supplemental bills, President Obama has been up front and open, and he has put it into one bill and says: Here is what I need. That is why my colleague, the chairman of the Budget Committee, who labors unbelievably hard under these difficult circumstances to make all this work--and I respect him enormously in those efforts--has praised President Obama's approach in this openness.

So the real question is sort of, What is this $4 billion going to get us? What is the difference it is going to make? First of all, we have a vital new package the President announced yesterday that Senator Lugar and I will be introducing in a few days to provide additional assistance for Pakistan and Afghanistan. The $4 billion is going to help build civilian capacity and put our diplomats back on the front lines of American foreign policy. It will provide lifesaving treatment for people with HIV/AIDS and continue the program that was perhaps the single most successful program of the Bush administration, which is the PEPFAR efforts in Africa. This $4 billion will help make people all over the world safer and in the process help keep America safer.

Ultimately, these kinds of efforts are the key to the strategy in Afghanistan. Our on-the-ground ability to be able to win, hold, and build is the whole strategy to be able to win people back over to us and prevent the Taliban from supplanting or filling the vacuum that currently exists.

We need to reverse years of neglect in those two countries. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. We just saw the other day an attack on police recruits in the heart of Pakistan itself--not out in the Fatah or in Baluchistan or the areas we know are harder to control. So we see that insurgency with a message clearly sent that they can act with impunity. So it is critical for the United States to step up and show President Zardari and the Government of Pakistan, who are courageously trying to forge forward with their youthful democracy, that, in fact, we are supportive and we are there to help them.

I ask my colleagues to imagine a nation as populous as Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Korea combined, a nation with a full arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them anywhere in a 1,000-kilometer range. Imagine a nation with a population that is overwhelmingly moderate, overwhelmingly committed to democracy and the rule of law, but deeply suspicious of its leadership and of America's friendship. Imagine a nation in which Osama bin Laden and the leadership of al-Qaida have found sanctuary for the past 7 years--a haven from which they and their confederates have plotted and carried out attacks on their host country, on neighboring countries, and on sites around the globe. That nation can serve as a keystone for a new, cooperative relationship between the Western and Muslim worlds, or, if we do not do our job, it could become an epicenter for radicalism and violence on a cataclysmic scale.

So I believe we are at a critical crossroads, and we need a bold new strategy for Pakistan. Our current path has not brought success, and tinkering around the margins is absolutely guaranteed to fail. That is why President Obama has called on Congress to pass the Enhanced Partnership With Pakistan Act that Senator Lugar and I will introduce very soon that authorizes up to $1.5 billion annually in order to help shape this new relationship with Pakistan.

We also might mention again the importance of standing up with respect to Iran. When you look back at what happened in the war with Israel and Lebanon, the southern part of the country of Lebanon was significantly damaged. Iran, using its surrogate Hezbollah, immediately painted flags on the houses--their flags, Hezbollah flags--and essentially asserted: Don't worry, we are here, and we are going to rebuild this.

So last year both parties came together. We had 73 votes to pull together, in addition to the budget, to provide $48 billion over 5 years. Today, it is imperative that we fund these programs, and I ask my colleagues for their support for this amendment.

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Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished managers of the bill. One of the amendments that was just accepted--and I want to make clear Senator Lugar is a cosponsor of it, together with Senator Corker and others on that side of the aisle.

This is an amendment that adds to the function 150 account. I want to make clear to colleagues why that was so important. Secretary Gates, a year and a half ago, while he was still Secretary serving with President Bush, said the following:

What is clear to me is that there is a need for a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security, diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action, and economic reconstruction and development.

National Security Adviser Jim Jones, just the other day, mentioned that we have huge warships off the coast of Lebanon, but Hezbollah is, in fact, gaining more foothold because they are building schools and building homes and involved on the ground. Our diplomacy and our foreign policy needs to do that. With the acceptance of this amendment, hopefully, we are going to.

I thank the distinguished managers.

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