I recently met with Rep. Gary Peters’s Congressional Liaison, Alex Greenfield. Over the course of almost an hour, Mr. Greenfield and I discussed many issues. I led the conversation to the status of the International Affairs Budget. I told him that my purpose in meeting with him, in addition to familiarizing the Congressman with ONE, was to ask for the Congressman’s support of the Senate 150 account level at $53.8 billion. He was familiar with the issue.
I explained to him that maintaining the proposed budget level of investment in the poorest nations helps to provide an essential infrastructure, which increases financial stability of those countries and improves the health of their citizens. I told him that, while some are looking for a means of offsetting our domestic stimulus budget by reducing foreign aid, the United States derives a direct benefit from maintaining foreign aid, because it helps persons in those nations to become productive and lead healthier lives, and because it reduces the influence of extremist factions which threaten security both here and abroad. He stated that these are among the issues which the Congressman and his staff are addressing. He said that he both understood and agreed with the connection between foreign aid and the benefit to the US.
Alex stated that the Congressman has been supportive of the President’s other proposals and that, while he cannot speak for the Congressman, he expects that he will support the International Affairs Budget as it stands. He will address this first with the other staff members and then will review it with Rep. Peters. He asked whether I would be available to meet with them again in the coming weeks, and I agreed to do so. He indicated that after learning more about ONE, he is supportive of its goals and would convey that to Rep. Peters. He also asked me to feel free to contact him about any other issues or pending legislation which ONE would like the Congressman to consider.
-Stephen Scapelliti, Michigan ONE Volunteer