Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified today before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. The Secretary said:
"...I want to join my voice to those of the Chairwoman, who has made it very clear that the American people have a right to be justifiably concerned about our national debt. I am, too. But I know that we have so many tough decisions that we're facing right now, that the American people also want us to be smart about the decisions we make and the investments that we are making in the future. Just two years ago, I asked that we renew our investment in development and diplomacy, and we are seeing tangible results.
"...The FY 2012 budget is a budget that will allow us to continue pressing forward. We think it is a lean budget for lean times. I launched the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review to help us maximize the impact of every dollar. We scrubbed this budget and we made painful but responsible cuts. We cut economic assistance to Central and Eastern Europe, to the Caucasus, to Central Asia. We cut development assistance to over 20 countries by more than half.
"This year, for the first time, our request is divided into two parts: Our core budget request is $47 billion for the State Department and USAID. That supports programs and partnerships in every country but North Korea, and it is essentially flat from 2010 levels.
"The second part of our request funds the extraordinary, temporary portion of our war effort the same way the Pentagon's request is funded: in a separate Overseas Contingency Operations account known as OCO. Instead of covering war expenses through supplemental appropriations, we are now taking a more transparent approach that fully reflects the integrated civilian-military efforts. Our share of the President's $126 billion request for exceptional wartime costs is $8.7 billion. So all told, we have a $47 billion operational account and an $8.7 billion Overseas Contingency Operations account.
"...I know that 2011 is a tough time. And I sent Chairman Rogers a letter. I've spoken to Speaker Boehner. It will be very difficult for us as we are now planning our civilian efforts in an ongoing way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to absorb a 16 percent cut that passed the House last month. We've got to do our part with the military. And I know that what is often the case is we talk about non-defense discretionary. And of course, that leaves out State and USAID. It includes the Department of Homeland Security. It includes Veterans and includes Defense. But here we are; I've got diplomats and development experts in Helmand Province, I've got them going in with the Marines into Kandahar, I've got them trying to figure out how we're going to have a strong, robust presence in Iraq to stand against Iran and to support that Iraqi Government. We cannot plan what we are expected to do if we can't get the budget for '11 that we have premised the planning on.
"Now, finally, I know how tough these decisions are. I was here in the ‘90s, not in this capacity, and I saw the difficult decisions we made then which put us on a path to having balanced budgets, surpluses, and frankly, being on the road to actually balancing our budget; 9/11 happened, a lot of other things happened in the following years. We are trying to get ourselves back on a strong fiscal footing. Unfortunately, the world hasn't stopped while we do that. And so as I look at the challenges for global leadership from the United States, I know we are tempted to try to step back from these obligations. But every time we've done that, it's come back and hit us right square between the eyes. We left Afghanistan after we pushed the Soviet Union out, and now we're paying a terrible price for that.
"Generations of Americans have grown up successful and safe because we've stepped up. We think that in the world today we have more than we can say grace over, but we are positioned to try to deal with it. And we cannot do it unless we remember that our national security depends not just on defense, but on diplomacy and development working together unlike anything we've ever done historically today, to really deliver on America's security, our interests, and our values. Thank you."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.
Related Content: Video of Deputy Secretary Thomas Nide's statement before the Senate Budget Committe on the President's FY 2012 Defense and International Affairs Budget