NOTE TO CONGRESS: Defense Spending Must Be Accompanied by Investments in International Affairs

March 31, 2009

WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a Statement by Samuel A. Worthington, InterAction President & CEO:

“It’s ironic that Congress introduces its congressional budget resolutions that reduce President Obama’s proposed 2010 budget for our diplomacy, international development, and humanitarian assistance programs the same week the president announces plans to ramp up our civilian effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The two budget proposals up for consideration this week in Congress trim $4-5 billion from the president’s request and limit funding to less than $50 billion total for our diplomacy, international development, and humanitarian assistance programs while providing the president’s full defense department request of $664 billion. Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, has said more than once that increasing spending on development and diplomacy is vital to our national security. It’s too bad that some in Congress aren’t listening.

Congress should work to protect taxpayer dollars, especially during this time of extreme economic uncertainty, but the cost-cutting must make sense. This doesn’t. Fully funding defense spending while cutting funds from the international affairs account is about as ill-advised as a newly unemployed worker not fixing the brakes on the car he must drive to job interviews. He may save money upfront, but he might face more costly consequences down the road.

As the president said in his remarks about Afghanistan, ‘…At a time of economic crisis, it’s tempting to believe that we can shortchange this civilian effort. But make no mistake: Our efforts will fail in Afghanistan and Pakistan if we don’t invest in their future.’

InterAction and its 175 member organizations urge Congress to fix the budget resolutions currently up for debate and fully fund U.S. diplomacy, international development, and humanitarian assistance programs at the president’s proposed levels. It’s an investment now that will pay increasing dividends in the future.”

Visit www.interaction.org to read more about InterAction and its member organizations.

InterAction is the largest alliance US-based nongovernmental international humanitarian relief and development organizations with 175 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life.

SOURCE InterAction

Source: newswire

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