PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF H.R. 3081, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2010 -- (House of Representatives - July 09, 2009)
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Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Mr. Cardoza for the time.
I want to begin my comments by congratulating Chairwoman Nita Lowey for drafting the bill before us today. I also want to thank Ranking Member Granger for working with the majority, and I also want to recognize both the majority and minority subcommittee staff for their professionalism and tireless work in producing this bill.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to voice my strong support of H.R. 3081, the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations bill. There are few things that we do on an annual basis that are more important and crucial to the success of U.S. foreign policy than passing this bill.
U.S. foreign policy can only be successful if we make crucial investments in the three D's: defense, diplomacy, and development. Ideally, all three, defense, diplomacy and development, should be considered equal legs of the same stool. However, this is currently not the case. This year we are going to spend somewhere north of $500 billion for defense. This bill, diplomacy and development, only totals $48 billion.
Despite the fact that the allocation for this bill is $3.2 billion below the President's request, and $1.2 billion below the comparable fiscal year 2009 level, this is a well-written and measured bill, taking into account the concerns of both the majority and the minority. However, I am worried about some of the amendments that have been made in order by the rule that would eviscerate some of the vital programs in this bill in the name of fiscal discipline.
I am worried, Mr. Speaker, because yesterday in the developing world nearly 15,000 to 20,000 people died of extreme poverty. Today in the developing world, 15,000 to 20,000 people will die of extreme poverty. Tomorrow in the developing world, 15,000 to 20,000 people will die of extreme poverty.
Extreme poverty, like malnutrition and disease, are claiming tens of thousands of lives every day, despite the fact that we know how to save many of these lives. The bill before us has the real potential to reverse these facts. Look at what has been done to date with our foreign aid: smallpox eradication began in the 1960s; control of river blindness in the 1970s; increased child immunizations in the 1980s; initiatives to fight Guinea worm, trachoma and leprosy in the 1990s; and the effort to end polio in this decade. Measurable results produced with the dollars in this bill.
Mr. Speaker, let me point out some of the highlights of this measure. This bill improves our diplomatic capabilities by funding 1,000 new foreign service professionals and improves our development capabilities by funding 300 new USAID personnel.
This bill provides funds for both our multilateral and bilateral peacekeeping operations. The bill provides increases for global health programs that fight the scourge of HIV, TB and malaria. The bill provides increases for development assistance programs. Some of these funds are educating children and providing clean drinking water and sanitation around the world.
The bill provides $224 million for Liberia, a shining example of a post-conflict country that is now on the road to recovery instead of becoming a potential failed state and a potential haven for terrorists.
Now, I understand that some of the Members plan to offer amendments to cut key increases in programs in this bill; but this is penny wise and pound foolish. Again, for our foreign policy to be successful, we can't just use sticks; we also have to use carrots. We need to invest in diplomacy and development the same way we do defense.
I am sure some will defend their amendments by saying in tough economic times we don't need to spend one dime overseas. These arguments also are shortsighted. The money we spend on development and humanitarian programs overseas is an investment in more stability, more security, and more sustainability. It is an investment in our long-term national security interests. It is an investment in a safer, freer, and more democratic world.
Not only is there a strong rational reason to support this bill and oppose all of the amendments to cut these vital programs; there is a moral one as well. When we were debating the fiscal year 2008 Foreign Operations bill, Chairman Frank Wolf, former ranking member, said it best when he said, ``I believe this bill has the potential to do a lot of good, and I want to say that this bill will help save a lot of lives not only here but around the world. This is the work of the Lord,'' Frank Wolf said. ``This bill,'' he said, ``is really to feed the poor, the hungry, the naked, the sick. Almost a better title of this bill,'' Frank Wolf said, ``would be the Matthew 25 bill.''
I urge my colleagues to vote for this bill, Mr. Speaker, and to look closely at some of these amendments because some of these amendments would cut the Lord's work by 5 percent across the board. Others would cut the Lord's work by $1.2 billion. And other amendments, Mr. Speaker, eviscerate programs that are designed to help the poorest amongst the poor. Support this bill; support this rule; and support this measure.
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