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Republican Leadership’s FY11 Budget Cuts Would Endanger National Security, Clinton Says

“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday afternoon that the spending levels outlined by House Republicans late last week for the remainder of the fiscal year would endanger the country’s national security,” the Washington Post’s “44” blog reports.  

“The scope of the proposed House cuts is massive,” Clinton said at a news conference after a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “The truth is that cuts of that level will be detrimental to America’s national security,” she said (Sonmez, 2/14). Clinton met with Boehner to discuss her concerns “a day before the House begins consideration of a spending bill that would slash the budgets for the State Department and USAID,” according to The Hill. “I was very clear with the Speaker about the deep concerns we have with the FY11 spending bill moving through the House floor this week,” Clinton said (Berman, 2/14).

“The State Department and USAID are on the front lines of just about every national security challenge we face. And we are promoting American jobs and advancing economic opportunity for Americans as well,” she said, Agence France-Presse reports. “To be successful at these vital tasks, we need the resources to do the job, otherwise we will pay a higher price later in crises that are allowed to simmer and boil over into conflicts,” she added. According to Clinton, the cuts could force the State Department to “scale back significantly” in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. “We would also be required to roll back critical health, food security, climate change, border security and trade promotion efforts aboard as well,” she said. To move forward, Clinton said she proposed Republicans and Democrats identify a “reasonable bipartisan consensus.”

“The State Department meanwhile released a copy of a letter Clinton sent to Harold Rodgers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee,” the news service reports. “She said the committee’s proposed 2011 spending levels for the State Department and [USAID] will result in a 16 percent reduction from 2010 funding.”

“The bill further proposes to cut our humanitarian assistance accounts by 41 percent from 2010 levels,” Clinton said. “Cuts of this magnitude will be devastating to our national security, will render us unable to respond to unanticipated disasters, and will damage our leadership around the world,” according to the letter (2/14). In the letter, Clinton also pointed out that “the sweeping cuts proposed by the Committee would significantly impair our border security programs; our food, global health, and climate change initiatives” (2/14).

Zeke Emanuel, Bill Gates, Rwandan Health Minister Discuss U.S. Investment In Global Health

The Huffington Post reports on a recent private event about the benefits of U.S. foreign aid. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair Bill Gates “shared the stage with Dr. Zeke Emanuel, Rwandan Health Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera, and moderator Frank Sesno on a panel about U.S. global health investment. Peter Chernin, former CEO of News Corporation and Fox Entertainment Group, and his wife Megan Chernin hosted the event at his Brentwood home with help from Hollywood-based Foreign Policy Roundtable and D.C.-based advocacy group Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” according to the website.

Sezibera spoke about Rwanda’s success in its fight against malaria. “In many parts of Rwanda, it is gone. Even the health workers and laboratory technicians do not know how to test for malaria… a few years ago you’d have seen three children on one bed. Today, the [malaria] wards are empty,” he said.

“In a way, the U.S. taxpayers don’t even understand the great things that have happened because of their generosity,”  Gates said at the event. Emanual spoke about the need for political leaders to champion global health issues. “It is going to be important to make sure that this is a bi-partisan issue,” he said, adding, “for everyone who has looked at all the things the U.S. government has done, this is the highest return on investment in terms of saving lives and in terms of favorable response overseas” (Almendrala, 2/14). 

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.