Talking International Affairs Budget with Senator Cornyn’s office

On June 1, ONE member Dionne Davis and I met with Collin McLochlin, North Texas Deputy Regional Director for Senator John Cornyn. Dionne delivered letters handwritten to Cornyn, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, by Dallas and Tarrant County ONE members calling for the restoration of $4 billion cut from the proposed International Affairs Budget (IAB).

I mentioned that veterans had become a major constituency of ONE. Those who have returned home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had joined ONE because they had seen that their humanitarian contributions to those overseas had helped stabilize volatile areas and dampen insurgencies. We included a letter from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition advocating full funding for President Obama’s $58.8 billion request for the International Affairs Budget and boosting funding for our civilian-led tools of development and diplomacy. A relatively small investment in the IAB can positively impact national security and save billions more in the long run because of reduced conflict.

Dionne, the Director of Refugee and Empowerment Services for Catholic Charities of Dallas, further added the importance of helping people rebuild after war, and that as a resettlement agency we see the impact of war when we help refugee families. Both the resettlement effort in the U.S. and the assistance from the IAB will help to strengthen countries. She also added the heartfelt feeling she has when hearing the stories from our soldiers on helping the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Restoring the $4 billion to the IAB is critical for the continual effort to help countries build an infrastructure after war and civil unrest, with the hope to lessen the need for people to flee their homes.

Although McLochlin felt that the Senator would most likely support the cut, he readily acknowledged the positive effect on national security delivered by proven efforts like building a well, funding the fight against preventable disease, helping poor countries educate their children, and expanding trade opportunities. He mentioned that we as a country may not have known as much about it at the beginning of the two wars, but we certainly do now.

-Kyle Talkington & Dionne Davis, Dallas ONE Members