DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2010 -- (House of Representatives - July 09, 2009)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. SCHIFF. I thank the gentlewoman.
I rise in strong support of the 2010 State-Foreign Ops Appropriations bill and congratulate my Chair and friend, Nita Lowey, for her leadership in crafting a bill that not only addresses critical national security needs, but does so in a cost-effective manner.
After too many years in which diplomacy and smart power were shunted aside, this legislation is a reassertion of American leadership in helping to assure a brighter, more peaceful future for America's children and for children around the world.
I am particularly concerned about Somalia's renewed descent into chaos and the prospect that al Qaeda, which is under increasing pressure along the Afghan/Pakistan frontier, will take advantage of the power vacuum in that country as it did in Afghanistan during the 1990s.
This must not be allowed to happen. And the U.S. must be willing to work with the United Nations, the African Union, and nongovernmental organizations to help stabilize Somalia and create an atmosphere in which governance and security are again possible.
This will be a long and difficult process, and in the main it must be driven by the Somalis themselves. But I was gratified that the bill includes aid above the President's request to foster economic growth, encourages the State Department to continue its support of Somali refugees in neighboring countries and, most importantly, provides $102 million to support both the African Union mission in Somalia and security sector reform within Somalia itself.
In this bill, even as we have provided funding for important initiatives like that, and we provided robust funding to increase the size of our Foreign Service and USAID professionals to revamp our aid to Pakistan and to help it to better confront the threat from al Qaeda, to provide crucial aid to key Middle Eastern allies Israel, Jordan and Egypt, to ramp up our efforts to fight the scourges of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, and fully meet our obligations to the United Nations, Ms. Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, and the staff of the subcommittee have also been mindful of the state of our economy here at home. In fact, this bill is $1.2 billion, or 2.4 percent, below the President's spending, and $3.2 billion, or 6 percent, below the administration's request.
Finally, I am very pleased the bill includes $48 million in economic assistance to Armenia, as well as an increase in humanitarian assistance to Karabakh to $10 million, and maintains military assistance parity to both countries at $3 million, and the IMET assistance at $450,000 each.
Importantly, the report accompanying the bill references the policy of parity in military assistance provided to Armenia and Azerbaijan.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT