U.S. Congress Must Ensure Consistent Funding Levels For State Department, Reaffirm Agency’s Core Mission
New York Times: Senators in Search of a Foreign Policy
“…Two people who understand the urgency of helping the [State Department] recover from the damages inflicted by Mr. Trump are Senators Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, and Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont. Leading members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, they have sought to rally their colleagues around a bipartisan spending bill for 2018 that would strengthen the department and replenish important foreign aid programs. … As interesting as the bipartisan vote [to approve $51 billion for the State Department, about $11 billion more than the president’s request,] was the Republican-led committee’s report, which pulled no punches in blistering Mr. Trump and his aides for proposing a budget in May that amounted to an ‘apparent doctrine of retreat’ from the world. … The committee bill would rescind many of these reductions and go beyond the numbers by imposing unprecedented restrictions to protect certain programs and operations from administrative meddling. … Like all institutions, the department can benefit from improvements. But there is no sign that Mr. Trump and his team understand its core mission and its importance in a turbulent world. With their bill, Mr. Graham, Mr. Leahy, and their fellow committee members have ringingly reaffirmed that mission. The rest of Congress should ensure that a strong version of it becomes law” (9/13).