AIPAC is urging the Senate to restore $4 billion in cuts that have been made to the international affairs budget, which includes foreign aid to Israel and many other countries. In a letter to senators, AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr and other top officials at the pro-Israel lobby ask then to back an amendment to the Senate budget resolution sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). The full letter is after the jump:
We are writing to urge you to support an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) 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. We also urge you to oppose any efforts to further cut the international affairs budget function.
The international affairs budget directly funds vital security assistance that enables Israel to defend itself against increasing threats, including the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran and military buildups by Hamas and Hizballah.
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. Foreign aid and diplomacy, which are funded through Function 150 of the federal budget, are critical components of American national security policy and complement the defense budget.
In fact, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has urged that Congress fully fund the President’s international affairs budget request. Last year, Secretary Gates said it is “clear that America’s civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long—relative to what we traditionally spend on the military, and more important, relative to the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world.”
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.
Spending about one penny of every federal dollar on preventing war, the spread of terrorism, disease and poverty is a wise investment in America’s national security that ultimately saves the taxpayers money.
We respectfully urge you to support the Kerry-Lugar amendment and to reject any efforts to impose further cuts to the vital international affairs account.
Howard Kohr Marvin Feuer Brad Gordon
Executive Director Director for Policy Director for Policy
and Government Affairs and Government Affairs