The Challenges of Meeting America's Objectives Around the Globe

August 12, 2013
Image of Secretary of State John Kerry Seen on TV in a Translator's Booth at the UN in New York

Every year, the State Department works with Congress to develop an international affairs budget that advances U.S. national security, protects Americans at home and abroad, opens markets overseas and creates jobs at home, fights disease, hunger and extreme poverty, and forges global partnerships.

In over 180 countries, the State Department and USAID provide the people and programs necessary to promote peace and ensure America’s leadership in the world.  That investment -- which is just 1 percent of the entire federal budget -- is critical to American interests and values.

That is why the recent mark up of the FY 2014 House Appropriations Bill for State/Foreign Operations, which cuts the budget of the State Department and USAID by 20 percent, is so distressing. Cuts of this magnitude would harm America's role in the world long into the future. It would harm our ability to compete abroad, and impact our relationships with close allies like Jordan and Israel.

Here are just a few examples of the impact of the proposed cuts:

A roughly 40 percent cut to our request for economic and development assistance, dramatically reducing our efforts in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mexico, Colombia, South Sudan, Somalia, and Burma.  It would also force us to scale back the Feed the Future program, setting back progress to reduce poverty in Africa by improving agricultural productivity.

Diplomatic and Consular overseas programs would be cut by nearly 40 percent from their current levels and nearly 50 percent from the President’s request.  Most embassy operating costs are relatively fixed -- including local staff, utilities, and leases -- therefore, such reductions could only be achieved by shuttering some smaller posts and reducing our outreach to populations outside of city centers. In developing countries, this means potentially reduced outreach to populations most at risk.

The lack of transfer authority for foreign assistance and State Operations in Overseas Contingency Operations would limit our ability to reallocate funds to the highest priorities  that demand our attention and engagement.

Constraining our contributions to International Organizations. Not paying our dues means not having a seat at the table. This would undermine our ability to advance U.S. policy interests on a wide range of issues. The House bill zeros out funding for our voluntary contributions to UN organizations, including organizations like UNICEF, and reduces or eliminates funding for several multilateral institutions.  Such cuts would signal the United States is no longer a global leader.

The challenges of the budget and the challenges of foreign policy must be viewed in the context that the United States is still the nation that people all over the world look to for leadership. The proposed cuts would undermine our ability to maintain that leadership role and weaken our national security. We look forward to working with Congress to find ways to enable the State Department and USAID to continue to meet America’s objectives around the globe.



Tommye G.
District Of Columbia, USA
August 13, 2013
Shared with readers on the Civil Service Association pages on Facebook and Twitter! It is important that Americans know what the Department does for them at home and abroad!
Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
August 13, 2013

Heather, I'll just briefly predict that when the Dept of State recieves an answer to this question, then you'll have the funding you need.

As I understand it, policy does not seek political ends in providing humanitarian aid. Why should members of Congress seek political ends over humanitarian aid?



Ashim C.
August 14, 2013
If US cutting it's aid budgets, it is welcome. One hopes that the saving shall be diverted for providing more stimulations to strengthen US economy and it's growth in whatever small measure. If US economy becomes strong, it will continue to cause growth of world economy. Aid in any case is a double edged tool. While it does good, it promotes dependence and even vested interest in obtaining aid among a limited well placed section of the receiving countries and hence does not always help in foreign policy objectives through aid of US.
L J.
Texas, USA
August 15, 2013
I agree!


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