May 11, 2021

Young, Durbin Lead Senators In Bipartisan Request For Strong FY22 International Affairs Budget

In a bipartisan letter, the senators urge the Senate Appropriations Committee to robustly fund diplomatic efforts abroad

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today led nearly half the Senate in urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to support strong Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 funding for the International Affairs Budget. In a bipartisan letter to Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the senators highlight that investing in key development and diplomatic programs are critical to ensuring the security, economic, and health interests of the American people.

 

“The international community is currently facing an unprecedented number of global challenges—including confrontational adversaries, failed states and resulting instability, humanitarian crises, mass displacement, and democratic backsliding.  American investments in diplomacy and development help prevent and reverse these trends, saving lives, building alliances, and opening markets for American goods,” the senators wrote.

 

The senators also wrote that this funding could be critical to addressing the ongoing pandemic globally, which has hit poor and vulnerable countries the hardest.

 

The senators continued, “In fact, an estimated 200 million more people are likely to be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to the severe long term impact of the pandemic, reversing 20 years of progress.  And with poorer nations largely shut out of early access to COVID-19 vaccines, such gaps threaten to prolong the pandemic and undermine our progress at home…A robust FY 2022 International Affairs Budget can help not only support more equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics around the world, but also strengthen health infrastructures, shore up food assistance programs, and provide other life-saving aid to those in need.”

 

Joining Young and Durbin on today’s letter include U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-M.N.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).

 

Full text of today’s letter is available here and below:

 

May 11, 2021

 

Dear Chairman Leahy and Vice Chairman Shelby:

            

In the midst of an historic global pandemic, we write to urge strong Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 funding for the International Affairs Budget.  Our investments in the key development and diplomatic programs in this budget account are critical to ensuring the health, safety, and economic interests of the American people.

 

The international community is currently facing an unprecedented number of global challenges—including confrontational adversaries, failed states and resulting instability, humanitarian crises, mass displacement, and democratic backsliding.  American investments in diplomacy and development help prevent and reverse these trends, saving lives, building alliances, and opening markets for American goods.  Often such investments reduce the need to send American troops into harm’s way and protect Americans at home from threats that do not respect international borders, as made clear with the historic COVID-19 pandemic.

            

Most importantly, strong FY 2022 foreign assistance funding will be critical to addressing this ongoing pandemic.  To date, nearly 125 million cases and 2.8 million deaths have been tracked globally, with exact figures likely much higher due to underreporting.  COVID-19 has particularly hit poor and vulnerable countries the hardest, threatening decades of hard-won gains, straining already fragile health systems, and exacerbating inequalities, particularly for women and girls.  In fact, an estimated 200 million more people are likely to be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to the severe long-term impact of the pandemic, reversing 20 years of progress.  And with poorer nations largely shut out of early access to COVID-19 vaccines, such gaps threaten to prolong the pandemic and undermine our progress at home (some forecasts indicate that at the current rate, it will take until 2024 for most poor nations to achieve mass COVID-19 immunization).  A robust FY 2022 International Affairs Budget can help not only support more equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics around the world, but also strengthen health infrastructures, shore up food assistance programs, and provide other life-saving aid to those in need.

 

America’s strength comes not only from its military and economic might, but from the power of its ideas and values.  We have a long history of bipartisan support for generously helping lift the lives of those abroad, utilizing one percent of the annual federal budget in a smart and strategic way that literally saves lives.  As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “For the United States, supporting international development is more than just an expression of our compassion.  It is a vital investment in the free, prosperous, and peaceful international order that fundamentally serves our national interest.” 

 

We urge you to ensure robust funding for the FY 2022 International Affairs Budget and look forward to working with you as we strive to reach that free, prosperous, and peaceful international order.

 

Sincerely,