Representative Nita Lowey

Representing the 17th District of New York

Opening Statement: FY2010 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Markup

June 17, 2009
Press Release

 

I am very pleased to present to the Subcommittee the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill. As a departure from past practice, we will mark up the bill and report instead of using mark-up notes. At the end of mark-up, we will collect the bill and report before you and circulate it to you on Friday. We plan on marking up in Full Committee next Wednesday. 

 

This bill reflects the bipartisan priorities of this Committee and of Congress, though clearly there will be differences on some issues. I thank all my Subcommittee members for your insights and suggestions. I particularly thank our ranking member. Kay Granger from Texas has played a key role in drafting this bill, bringing her knowledge and perspective from the defense subcommittee into this process. The bill has also benefited from the input of our very informed and engaged subcommittee members. 

 

Today, I would appreciate us moving through this mark-up in an expeditious manner, and I ask that members reserve any amendments until we go to full committee – not that any of you should have any amendments since we have worked hard to accommodate your requests.

 

With that, let me turn to highlights of the bill:

 
  • The President’s request for activities under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs is $52.044 billion.  The subcommittee allocation is $48.843 billion, which is $1.2 billion below the fiscal year 2009 enacted level, including supplemental appropriations, and $3.2 billion below the fiscal year 2010 request. In fiscal year 2009, $3.7 billion was in supplemental appropriations bridge funding in Public Law 110-252, and $9.7 billion was provided in the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (HR 2346). The President’s FY2010 request and the Committee's recommendation seeks to avoid reliance on supplemental appropriations and provides an upfront, honest and transparent accounting of the resources needed to fund our foreign policy and national security interests.
 

National Security and Counter-Terrorism

  • The Committee's fiscal year 2010 recommendation includes a total of $13.4 billion to protect our national security and combat terrorism.
 
  • Within this amount, the Committee provides $4.7 billion for assistance to the frontline states of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq to help stabilize, strengthen and rebuild these critical countries.
 
  • This bill, in conjunction with funding in the 2009 supplemental, fully funds our commitments to our allies and partners in the Middle East including a total of $2.775 billion pursuant to the MOU between the United States and Israel, and our commitments to Egypt and Jordan.
 
  • The bill provides $987 million to support counter narcotics and alternative development programs in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Basin, Colombia and Peru.
 
Rebuilding Diplomatic and Development Capacity

As I have noted in our hearings this year, the lack of sufficient capacity in our civilian agencies has resulted in an increased reliance on American troops to carry out diplomatic and development missions. This is neither in the interest of our military, which is overburdened and needs to focus on its core mission, nor our diplomatic and development professionals. We have heard from Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff their support for strengthening the capacity of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

·         Therefore, this bill provides sufficient resources in fiscal year 2010 to hire 1,000 new State Department personnel and 300 new USAID personnel as well as the requisite training, support and security costs associated with these positions. 

 

Global Health and HIV/AIDS:

The Committee continues robust funding for global health programs and provides a total of $5.7 billion for global HIV/AIDS activities, which is $100 million above the President’s request, and $200 million above the FY 2009 enacted level. 

 
  • This amount includes $700 million for the Global Fund, $100 million above the request. 
 
  • Voluntary family planning services for families in the developing world is also a priority of this committee. Funding for family planning provides access to basic reproductive health services for millions of women, and I am proud that the mark includes $648 million, $100 million above the FY 2009 enacted level and $50 million above the request, which will give millions of women access to basic reproductive health services. Of this amount, $60 million is for the United Nations Population Fund.
 
  • This bill does not change any of the provisions of law that restrict funding for abortion or otherwise condition family planning assistance. While I continue to be personally committed to the permanent repeal of the global gag rule, I have maintained current law at the request of our ranking member and out of consideration for a bipartisan bill. 
 
  • The Committee believes that funding to address pandemics and other health concerns overseas before they reach our shores is one of the best investments the United States can make to protect American citizens while saving lives overseas. To this end, the Committee provides $75 million to address pandemic preparedness and response and an additional $50 million in the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009. 
 

Development and other Assistance

 
  • The Committee provides $1 billion to improve access to quality education and provide alternatives to madrassas where youth are often exposed to extremism, and $200 million for higher education. 
 
  • In light of increased food shortages in many developing countries, which are exacerbated by the global financial crisis, the Committee provides $1 billion for food security and agricultural development. 
 
  • To preserve and protect our environment and fight global climate change, this bill includes over $1.2 billion in bilateral and multilateral funds for clean energy, biodiversity, and climate change initiatives.
 
  • The Committee provides $2.4 billion in refugee and disaster assistance to regularize funding in supplemental appropriations in past years and to meet growing humanitarian needs, including in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
 
  • Finally, the committee is aware of the keen bipartisan interest in increasing the size and strength of the Peace Corps. I am pleased to have worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide $450 million for the Peace Corps to jump start the President’s promise to double the size of the Peace Corps.
 

Oversight of Foreign Assistance Programs

 

·         I continue to focus on improving oversight of the funds provided in this bill and have worked with my Ranking Member to include a number of provisions aimed at improving accountability and oversight of assistance and operations funding. Furthermore, the bill provides a total of $146,500,000 for the oversight activities of the Inspectors General of the Department of State and USAID, as well as for the Special Inspectors General for Iraq and Afghanistan Reconstruction.

 

Clearly there is much more than I can summarize here, and I urge you to read the bill and report when they are available. 

 
###