WASHINGTON (JTA) — AIPAC urged U.S. senators to reject proposed cuts to foreign assistance.
"We are writing to urge you to support an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) that would restore $4 billion in cuts taken from President Obama’s original request of $53.8 billion in international affairs spending for fiscal year 2010," read the letter sent Wednesday to all senators and signed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s executive director, Howard Kohr, and other top officers. "We also urge you to oppose any efforts to further cut the international affairs budget function."
The cuts to the Obama administration’s proposed budget have been made in committee; the Lugar-Kerry effort is to restore them before the bill reaches a vote.
AIPAC frames the request in terms of support for Israel’s needs as well as for other international assistance.
"In addition to providing security assistance to Israel and other key countries, the international affairs budget provides vital resources to help ensure continued American leadership around the world," the letter stated. "At a time of global economic crisis, this part of the budget is critical in fostering economic and political stability in the Middle East and elsewhere. It will also spur international economic development, which helps to create jobs here at home."
AIPAC has traditionally supported robust foreign aid beyond assistance to Israel.
Israel is slated to receive slightly less than $3 billion in U.S. assistance this year. It is unclear whether the proposed cuts would affect the funding.