Yesterday, Chairman Kent Conrad released a fiscal year 2011 budget proposal that takes aim at the International Affairs budget (the 150 account), slashing funding by $4 billion.
It’s peculiar that, as America’s efforts abroad have made significant accomplishments in fighting poverty and preventable disease, Chairman Conrad would significantly single out the international affairs budget, jeopardizing tangible progress in saving lives if funding is not restored.
This funding includes lifesaving efforts that have put 3 million people in Africa on AIDS treatment, when only 50,000 were on treatment eight years ago, cut deaths from malaria in half in several African countries, and put millions of children in the classroom for the first time.
ONE recognizes the difficult choices required to reduce the budget deficit but questions Conrad’s decision to solely focus cuts on one account that will not result in long-term deficit reduction but will have a lasting impact on the progress and results made in the developing world over the past two decades.
Now is not the time to lose sight of how important these efforts play in not only strengthening America’s reputation as a world leader but contributing to our long term national security. These small investments can also pay huge dividends down the road—they can save us money in the long run by avoiding future humanitarian emergencies or military conflicts.
Senator Conrad’s budget has been called ‘tough’ but cutting funding critical to development and diplomacy is the last thing that military leaders have called for when it comes to ‘tough and smart’ national security policy.
ONE strongly urges the full Senate to recognize the value of investments in development and diplomacy as critical to our national security and to restore the International Affairs budget at the level of the proposed federal budget request.