Congress Should Avoid Cutting International Affairs Budget, Clinton Says

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton argued against cutting U.S. foreign aid in a speech on Tuesday at a meeting of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the Washington Post’s “Checkpoint Washington” blog reports.

“The 1 percent of our budget we spend on all diplomacy and development is not what is driving our deficit. Not only can we afford to maintain a strong civilian presence [overseas] — we cannot afford not to,” she said (Sheridan, 7/12). “She said threatened cuts to foreign assistance and State Department operations will undermine efforts to develop markets for American businesses overseas and hurt diplomats’ promotion of U.S. companies,” the Associated Press writes.

“The simple truth is, if we don’t seize the opportunities available today, other countries will,” Clinton said. “Other countries will fight for their companies while ours fend for themselves. Other countries will promote their own models and serve their own interests instead of opening markets, reinforcing the rule of law and creating widespread, inclusive growth. Other countries will create the jobs that should be created here and even claim the mantle of global leadership,” she said (Lee, 7/12).

Also at the meeting, Brian Hook, senior foreign policy adviser to presidential candidate and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R), said Pawlenty wants to preserve U.S. aid funding, Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog reports.

“These are difficult economic times and you have a significant part of the Republican Party calling for retrenchment. The governor doesn’t accept that view and believes we ought to maintain defense spending and maintain the international affairs account,” Hook said. “Governor Pawlenty believes very much in projecting an American foreign policy that is very much focused on clarity and strength, with the capabilities to back it up. And that means not cutting the international affairs account and defense spending,” Hook said (Rogin, 7/13).

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