Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in a bipartisan classified briefing with senators, where they discussed recent events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, and how the United States is working to support Egypt as it works toward an open, accountable, and representative government. The Secretary was joined by General James E Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns at the U.S. Capitol on February 17, 2011.
Secretary Clinton said, "It's very clear that there is a great deal of work ahead to ensure an orderly democratic transition. It's also clear that Egypt will be grappling with immediate and long-term economic challenges. The United States stands ready to provide assistance to Egypt to advance its efforts. I'm pleased to announce today we will be reprogramming $150 million for Egypt to put ourselves in a position to support the transition there and assist with their economic recovery. These funds will give us flexibility to respond to Egyptian needs moving forward. Under Secretary Burns and David Lipton, a senior White House advisor on international economics, will travel to Egypt next week to consult with Egyptian counterparts on how we can most effectively deploy our assistance in line with their priorities.
"In today's briefing, we also discussed the lessons of the recent events in Egypt and the broader Middle East. These events demonstrate why the United States must remain fully engaged around the world. In Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and so many places, the men and women of the State Department and USAID are working to advance our interests, our values, and most importantly, our national security. This work is vital and it needs proper funding. I told our congressional colleagues that the FY -- Fiscal Year 2011 spending bill that is on the House floor right now would have serious negative consequences for America's national security. The 16 percent cut for State and USAID in that bill would, for example, force us to scale back dramatically on our missions in the frontline states of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
"I certainly realize that these are very tough budget times, and we must justify every single penny that we ask for. But as General Cartwright told our Senate colleagues, diplomats and development experts are working side by side with our military troops in those countries to secure the gains we've made, and we cannot do the job with two of our three hands tied behind our back.
"As the events of the past month have shown, protecting our country and advancing our interests takes constant and coordinated effort from across our government. Congress is a crucial partner in this work. And I look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues here to continue strengthening America's national security."
You can find the Secretary's complete remarks here.