"With foreign policy dominating the headlines, I was sorry to see Chairman Paul Ryan's budget proposal include a significant cut of 11 percent for international affairs programs. This is particularly disappointing given the bipartisan omnibus agreement passed in January, protecting international affairs from further cuts.
Fortunately, the all-important appropriations process kicks into high gear this week, and we will be working with our allies on the Hill to ensure higher funding levels to meet the many global challenges. Our latest budget snapshot provides more details.
In the meantime, here are a couple of things I've been keeping an eye on:
Ukraine's Impact on 2016 Candidates-- While the situation with Russia is very concerning, I'm pleased that it has engaged several of the potential presidential candidates who, up until now, have not talked about foreign policy. In the past two weeks, Governors Christie, Jindal, Kasich, and Walker have added their voices in various speeches about the importance of America's engagement in the world, a few even channeling Ronald Reagan. This bodes well in the battle between the isolationist and international wings of the GOP.
Veterans on the Hill Speak Out-- Rising star Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL,) along with a dozen of their fellow military veterans on Capitol Hill, wrote a letter last week to Budget and Appropriations leaders saying "international development and diplomacy programs are one of the most cost-effective means our nation has to confront the threats we face today." These veterans have seen combat and have a great deal of credibility to testify on the difference international affairs programs make in establishing stability and preventing further conflict.
And a few quick reads:
P.S.—Last week marked the 66th anniversary of the signing of the Marshall Plan, a good reminder of what smart foreign assistance can do to advance our own security and economic interests. That was one smart General."