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Department Of State, Foreign Operations, And Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ISRAEL. I thank the distinguished chairwoman, my extraordinary colleague from New York.

Mr. Chairman, I am so pleased to rise in support of this bill. This is one of the finest State-Foreign Operations bills we have had in many years.

I am especially indebted to the chairwoman for allowing me to include two provisions in this bill. One is language that I have been interested in for several years since visiting India on an energy congressional delegation, learning what India is doing with respect to renewable energy and learning that there were six women in the Sunderbonds, a remote Delta region, who were lighting their entire village with a solar panel.

If you ask the Department of Defense what we need in order to promote stability and security and affluence and prosperity, they will tell you we need a robust defense budget, something I agree with. But in the Sunderbonds, they are doing it with a solar panel which charges solar lanterns, which these six women rent to other villagers. And so you have all the elements that you need for stability and security; you have the empowerment of women, you have a sustainable small business model, and you have light.

As a result of the chairwoman's support and the support of the ranking member, we have included $10 million to establish the Solar Villages Initiative in the State Department to replicate this project.

I further want to thank the chairwoman and the ranking member for their support of the National Solidarity Program in Afghanistan. The essential lesson that Afghanistan teaches us is that order cannot be imposed from above--Alexander the Great tried it, Genghis Khan tried it, the British tried it, the Soviets tried it. We can try it, but it does not succeed.

Afghanistan is stable when order comes from the Afghan people, when they are empowered to achieve their own solutions. And as a result of the chairwoman's support and the support from the minority, we have included $175 million for the multidonor National Solidarity Program, which is the leading program rebuilding Afghanistan. That allows local villages to secure some funding to plan their own projects, to plan their own future, to bring women into governing councils, to establish those projects which will secure those villages and promote long-term security and stability.

These are two programs, among many, which make this a product that both sides of the aisle can be very proud of. It is the best investment that we can make. And I again thank the chairwoman for her support.


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