Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Opening Statement Before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs
Washington, DC, April 13, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
[Link to Written Statement]
FY2001 Budget Request for Foreign Operations
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Good morning. I am delighted to be here. This is one of my favorite subcommittees. Mr. Chairman, I still recall with pleasure my visit to Louisville a couple of years ago. You are a plain speaker and, though we do not always agree, we have a good record of working together. I hope we can build on that this year.
I also want to commend Senator Leahy, who has long been a champion of human rights, a leader on landmines, and now the sponsor of the "Global Health Act of 2000." No one has a better grasp of the linkage between American interests and values.
Of course, every Senator here is a great leader. And now that I have praised you, it will come as no surprise -- I want your money.
This Subcommittee understands well the need for U.S. leadership in our era. You know that events overseas have an increasing impact on our citizens here at home -- on our security, jobs, health, even the safety of our schools and streets.
You know the term "foreign aid" has become virtually obsolete. When we fight proliferation, drug trafficking, terrorism, disease, and crime--we aid America. The same is true when we work worldwide to open markets, foster democracy and strengthen the rule of law.
It is only because our predecessors were willing to bear the costs of leadership that our nation entered the new century strong and respected, prosperous and at peace. We have a responsibility now to secure these blessings for future generations of Americans. We cannot do that unless we lead. And we cannot lead without resources.
Most Americans are astonished when I tell them we devote a smaller percentage of our wealth to assisting overseas development than any other industrialized country. During the past decade, our rate of investment has declined by half; since the days of Marshall and Truman, by more than ninety percent.
This makes it harder for us to leverage the help of others, and often leaves us with no other choice than to shortchange one urgent need in order to cope with another.
So I urge the Committee and the Senate to act soon on our request for emergency supplemental funds this year. This money will meet critical needs, especially in the still-turbulent region of Southeast Europe, and in our own hemisphere.
In the Balkans, the struggle between violent extremists and more moderate elements is taking place in real time.
We ask your backing for our efforts to promote stability and democratic values, including tolerance.
We need help in bolstering security, and also in doing our part to revitalize Kosovo's economy and civil society. This serves our interests, for the sooner the people of Kosovo are able to live in security and peace, the sooner American troops can begin to come home. Moreover, our effort to ensure continued support from Europe will be undermined if we fall short in our own contributions.
Closer to home, President Clinton's request includes funds to help the people of Colombia reclaim their country from drug criminals. These resources will assist the nation in disrupting illicit narcotics production, apprehending drug traffickers, fostering alternative development, and enhancing respect for human rights.
We have a huge stake in helping Colombians to achieve these goals. More than four-fifths of the cocaine flooding our nation either comes from Colombia or passes through it. And most of Colombia's heroin production also ends up here.
Earlier this week, I met with Colombian President Pastrana. Some of you may also have had that opportunity. He is a courageous leader with a bold plan for lifting his country up. He deserves our help. And it is in our interests to provide it, not eventually, but now.
As you know, the House of Representatives has acted on our supplemental request, but omitted essential elements, including embassy security and international peacekeeping. The Senate has not yet acted. This morning, I ask your support for the President's entire request and for moving ahead with it on an emergency basis.
I also urge full funding for the foreign operations component of the President's national security budget for the coming fiscal year. I say this knowing that most of this money will not be spent until 2001, under a new Administration. So my urging has nothing to do with parties or personalities; but everything to do with U.S. interests and values.
For example, many of our programs help keep Americans secure.
The Cold War is over and our nation is strong, but we still face grave dangers. The funds we seek will help us assure the safe handling of nuclear materials and expertise in the former
Soviet Union; slow the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; counter international terror; and fight transnational crime.
Our programs also support American prosperity by promoting U.S. exports, spurring overseas development and helping other countries to achieve viable market economies.
In this connection, I urge Members to support the President's request for permanent normal trade relations with China. This request makes sense from whichever angle you view it. Strategically, it will help integrate China more thoroughly into the world economy and create further incentives for Beijing to support stability within the Asia Pacific region.
Economically, it will dramatically increase U.S. access to Chinese markets, without requiring us to further open ours. It will strengthen protections against unfair trade practices.
And when China joins the WTO, Beijing will be required to accept international trading rules and diminish the role of state-owned enterprises. This will reduce government control over people's lives, promote the rule of law and aid those within China who want to develop a more open society.
A third major objective of our international affairs programs is peace.
And today, in the Middle East, we must operate with a steady hand as we strive to help Israel and her neighbors move towards a comprehensive settlement. In recent months, we have been reminded just how hard this job is, and how deep the legacy of mistrust.
But never before has the logic of peace been so compelling or the opportunity for peace so clear. At this critical time, America's commitment to provide appropriate support to our partners in peace must remain rock solid.
In Southeast Europe, we are striving to foster stability and tolerance. We will not succeed without international support, and we are counting on our friends in Europe to provide the lion's share of muscle and money.
As I saw during my visit to the region last month, the majority of people there are more interested in plugging into the world economy than in slugging it out with old adversaries. Huge obstacles remain. But I am convinced that with sufficient resources, and the right leadership, Southeast Europe can indeed become a full participant and partner in the Euro-Atlantic Community.
A fourth purpose of our international affairs programs is to promote values that Americans cherish.
For example, our contributions to international family planning help spur overseas development, reduce the number of abortions and save human lives. I ask your support for full funding in this area, without any unrelated restrictions.
Senators, the United States has a huge stake in helping to see that the democratic tide remains a rising tide around the world. The President's budget proposes significant investments in promoting democracy in key countries such as Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Ukraine.
No country is better than ours at helping nations to strengthen democratic institutions and practices. This is appropriate, because support for freedom is in the proudest of American traditions. I ask your help in getting a good start on what I hope will be known, with a small "d," as the democratic 21st Century.
We also support our values when we assist people who are in desperate need.
Earlier this year, we joined with others in helping to rescue the victims of devastating floods in southeast Africa, especially Mozambique. Unfortunately, substantial additional resources will be needed. The floods have undone much of the economic progress achieved in Mozambique since the civil war there ended eight years ago.
Accordingly, we will be consulting with you soon about reprogramming roughly $32 million from existing resources. And we will be coming forward with a request for $200 million in emergency supplemental funds.
Mr. Chairman, the cost of all the initiatives I have described--plus many more I have not had time to mention -- is equal to roughly one penny out of every dollar the Federal Government spends.
But that single penny can spell the difference between hard times and good times for our people; war and peace for our country; less and more freedom for our world.
The annual budget debate in Washington typically revolves around the appropriate role of the federal-- as opposed to state and local -- governments in such areas as education and health care. But under the Constitution, the protection of our national security is one of the Federal Government's most basic tasks.
It is a responsibility that cannot be delegated or privatized. It is OUR responsibility to formulate plans for protecting American interests, and to come up with the resources required to make those plans work.
Senators, I know that you understand this. And I hope you will agree to support the President's budget, and American leadership, in your deliberations this year.
Thank you very much, and now I would be pleased to respond to any questions you might have.
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