BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. FARR. Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong opposition to the shortsighted foreign assistance cuts in Chairman Ryan's FY13 Budget. The Ryan Budget slashes our foreign aid by 10%, dangerously undermining some of the most low-cost, high-return tools in our national security toolbox. And why? Because the Chairman claims it will help to reduce the deficit. But the numbers tell a very different story. These foreign aid cuts amount to 0.2% reduction in our deficit. Two-tenths of one percent! Dr. Mike Tierney of The College of William & Mary put it best when he said, ``Cutting foreign aid to address the budget crisis is like getting your hair cut in an effort to lose weight.''
In our present fiscal environment, every dollar we spend must yield the highest possible return on our investment. And that means doing everything possible to efficiently reduce the threat of costly conflict and build stable, peaceful American allies. And who is on the frontlines of building peace? Our State Department diplomats, our USAID development professionals, our Peace Corps Volunteers, our US Institute of Peace civilian power, our Inter-American Foundation grassroots development capacity, to name a few. And the budget that supports this smart power amounts to less than 2% of our total budget. Talk about big return on small investment!
But the Ryan Budget cuts will also have real reverberations for US workers. Foreign aid creates strong markets for US goods; 11 of our top 15 trading partners are graduates of US foreign assistance programs. And one out of every five American jobs is tied to trade. So, not only does this ill-conceived budget jeopardize our national security efforts, it takes an unnecessary swipe at American workers in the midst of a fragile economic recovery.
Mr. Chair, make no mistake about it: I firmly believe we need to get our fiscal house in order. So for this reason, we must support foreign assistance because foreign assistance supports peace. And peace is the least costly, most important tool in our national security toolbox.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT