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Congressman Joaquin Castro

Representing the 20th District of Texas

Castro Joins HFAC Democrats Letter to Budget Committee on Pushing Back on Trump’s Foreign Affairs Budget Cuts

Mar 2, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C.— Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) joined all Democratic Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in urging House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack and Ranking Member John Yarmuth to continue to reject the Trump administration’s cuts to the international affairs budget in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. 

In a letter, the Members said it is essential that the international affairs budget be funded at no less than the FY 2017 level of $59.1 billion for both FY 2018 and FY 2019, regardless of the amount of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds that are available.

The Members wrote: “We were extremely disappointed that the President’s FY 2019 budget again cut international affairs spending by nearly one-third. Unfortunately, President Trump has chosen to move away from the long-standing bipartisan consensus which has governed America’s foreign policy. Rather than strengthening ties and bolstering alliances, he is pushing away America’s closest friends and allies and continuing to isolate our country on the global stage.”

The letter was signed by Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel (NY); Asia Subcommittee Ranking Member Brad Sherman (CA); Europe Subcommittee Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks (NY); Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Ranking Member Albio Sires (NJ); Representative Gerald E. Connolly (VA); Middle East Subcommittee Ranking Member Theodore E. Deutch (FL); Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (CA); Terrorism Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member William R. Keating (MA); Rep. David N. Cicilline (RI); Vice Ranking Member Rep. Ami Bera (CA); Rep. Lois Frankel (FL); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI); Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX); Rep. Robin L. Kelly (IL); Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (PA); Rep. Dina Titus (NV); Rep. Norma J. Torres (CA); Rep. Bradley S. Schneider (IL); Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (NY); Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY); and Rep. Ted W. Lieu (CA).

Full text of the letter can be found below and here.

Dear Chairman Womack and Ranking Member Yarmuth:

As Democratic Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, we write to share our views on the international affairs budget – or Function 150 – for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. As you know, Congress has not yet completed the FY 2018 appropriations process, and we believe it is essential that the international affairs budget be funded at no less than the FY 2017 enacted level of $59.1 billion for both FY 2018 and FY 2019. This top-level funding must be provided regardless of the amount of Overseas Contingency Operations or OCO funds that are available for the 150 account.

We were extremely disappointed that the President’s FY 2019 budget again cut international affairs spending by nearly one-third. Unfortunately, President Trump has chosen to move away from the long-standing bipartisan consensus which has governed America’s foreign policy. Rather than strengthening ties and bolstering alliances, he is pushing away America’s closest friends and allies and continuing to isolate our country on the global stage.

Diplomacy and development keep America strong and our troops out of combat. Just last month, over 150 three and four-star generals and admirals sent a letter to Congress urging all of us to stop dangerous cuts to the State Department and USAID. We could not agree more. If we are unwilling to make adequate investments in diplomacy, we are telling our men and women in uniform that we won’t spend pennies on the dollar to prevent a crisis which could put their lives at risk. In addition, Fortune 500 CEOs. faith leaders and former Secretaries of State from both parties have made clear to Congress the importance of fully funding the State Department, USAID and other agencies in the Function 150 Account.

As a co-equal branch of government with the power of the purse, Congress must take action when our country is moving in the wrong direction, and the international affairs budget is our most important tool to reinforce our partnerships around the globe.

We, therefore, urge support for a robust international affairs budget in FY 2018 and 2019 and look forward to working with you to ensure that the State Department, USAID and other federal agencies funded under the Function 150 account receive the resources they need to protect our security and effectively promote American interests and values around the world.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

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