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Letter to the Honorable Kent Conrad, Chairman of U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Chairman:

I am asking your help in supporting the State and USAID budget request for FY 2011. I appreciate the difficult budget environment that confronts the Congress, but I strongly believe this budget request is critical to advancing U.S. national security and our interests around the world.

Our request totals $52.8 billion - a $4.9 billion increase over 2010. Of that increase, $3.6 billion goes directly to "frontline states" - Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. All other State and USAID funding grows by $1.3 billion or a 2.7 percent increase, and allows us to tackle the transnational problems of poverty, food insecurity, climate change, and disease that pose serious threats to American interests.

Our diplomatic and development tools enhance American leadership, strengthen our alliances, and build new partnerships to confront press global challenges. Full funding in FY 11 will allow us to continue making tangible progress in securing the hard fought gains achieved in Iraq, and to continue supporting and deploying hundred of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help stabilize dangerous but improving situations.

The recent attacks on United States personnel and facilities from Juarez, Mexico, to Peshawar, Pakistan, reinforce what we already know - America's diplomats and development professionals are on the front lines, protecting, and securing our vital national security interests around the world.

Congress has rightly demanded that we use all the tools in our national security tool belt; that we put more diplomats and development experts on the ground, should-to-shoulder with our troops; and that we do everything possible to secure America's interest around the world. We are doing our part at the State Department and USAID, but we need your help with the FY 11 request. Our missions are increasingly integrated with those of our Defense Department counterparts, as we have seen demonstrated time and again in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world. Cuts to the civilian components can no longer be seen in isolation or having little impact on our national security strategy.

Our investments in development and diplomacy are smart, cost-effective, and squarely in the best interests of American taxpayers and our national security. They are also relatively small compared to the cost of active military engagement, and they can end up delivering impactful savings. In Iraq, for example, our $2.6 billion request for State and USAID will allow the Defense Department budget to decrease by about $16 billion - a powerful illustration of the return on civilian investments.

I ask for your strong support of our budget request and you have my pledge that we will work diligently to ensure that this funding is used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton


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