FY2012 State and USAID Budget Request

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Opening Remarks Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
March 2, 2011

Well, thank you, and I want to begin by thanking you, Chairman Kerry and you, Ranking Member Lugar, for not just those two eloquent statements of our priorities and our needs as a nation, but for your service, your lifetime of leadership on issues that really do matter to America’s security, interest, and values. It’s an honor to appear before you.

I recently took part in emergency meetings in Geneva to discuss the events unfolding in Libya, and I’d like to begin by offering a brief update. As the Chairman said, we have joined the Libyan people in demanding that Colonel Qadhafi must go, now, without further violence and bloodshed. And we are working to translate the world’s outrage into action and results.

Marathon diplomacy at the United Nations and with our allies has yielded quick, aggressive steps to pressure and isolate Libya’s leaders. We welcome yesterday’s decision to suspend Libya from the Human Rights Council, as I had urged a day earlier. USAID is focused on Libya’s food and medical supplies, and is dispatching two expert humanitarian teams to help those fleeing the violence into Tunisia and Egypt. Our combatant commands are positioning assets to prepare to support these critical civilian missions. And we are taking no option off the table so long as the Libyan Government continues to turn its guns on its own people.

As both the Chairman and the Ranking Member have noted, the region is changing, and a strong, strategic American response will be essential. In the years ahead, for example, Libya could become a peaceful democracy, or it could face protracted civil war or fall into chaos. The stakes are high. And this is an unfolding example of using the combined assets of smart power, diplomacy, development, and defense to protect our interests and advance our values.

This integrated approach is not just how we must respond to the crisis of the moment. It is the most effective and most cost-effective way to sustain and advance our security. And it is only possible with a budget that supports all the tools in our national security arsenal, which is what I am here today to discuss.

I understand and agree that the American people are rightly and justifiably concerned about our national debt, about our economy, and about unemployment. But I think also, Americans understand the need for responsible investments in our security for the future to make us safer, to keep markets open, to ensure that we remain the leader in the world.

Just two years after President Obama and I first asked you to renew our investment in development and diplomacy, we are already seeing tangible returns. In Iraq, almost 100,000 troops have come home, and civilians are poised to keep the peace. In Afghanistan, integrated military and civilian surges have helped set the stage for our diplomatic surge to support Afghan-led reconciliation that can end the conflict and put al-Qaida on the run. We have imposed the toughest sanctions yet to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

We have reengaged as a leader in the Asia Pacific region and in our own hemisphere. We have signed trade deals to promote American jobs and nuclear weapons treaties to protect our people. We worked with northern and southern Sudanese to achieve a peaceful referendum and prevent a return to civil war. And we are working to open up political systems, economies, and societies at this remarkable moment in history in the Middle East, and to support orderly, peaceful, irreversible democratic transitions.

Our progress is significant, but our work is ongoing. These missions are vital to our national security, and now would be absolutely the wrong time to pull back.

The FY 2012 budget we discuss today will allow us to keep pressing ahead. It is a lean budget for lean times. I launched the first-ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, the so-called QDDR, to help us maximize the impact of every dollar we spend. We scrubbed this budget. We made painful but responsible cuts. For example, we cut economic assistance to Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia by 15 percent. We cut development assistance to over 20 countries by more than half.

This year, for the first time, our request is divided into two parts. Our core budget request is $47 billion. That supports programs and partnerships in every country but North Korea. It is essentially flat from 2010 levels. The second part of our request funds the extraordinary, temporary portion of our war effort. This is the same way the Pentagon’s request is funded, in a separate overseas contingency operations account known as OCO. Instead of covering our war expenses through supplemental appropriations, we are now taking a more transparent approach that reflects our fully integrated civilian-military effort on the ground. Our share of the President’s $126 billion request for these exceptional wartime costs in frontline states is $8.7 billion.

Let me walk you through a few of the key investments. First, this budget funds vital civilian missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, al-Qaida is under pressure as never before. Alongside our military offensive, we are engaged in a major civilian effort to help build up the governments, economies, and civil societies of both countries, and therefore help undercut the insurgency. These two surges, the military and civilian, now set the stage for the third surge, a diplomatic push in support of an Afghan process to split the Taliban from al-Qaida, bring the conflict to an end, and help stabilize the entire region. Our military commanders are emphatic. They cannot succeed without a strong civilian partner. Retreating from our civilian surge in Afghanistan with our troops still in the field would be a grave mistake.

Equally important is our assistance to Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation with strong ties and interests in Afghanistan. This is a complicated and often frustrating relationship, as the Chairman knows very well. And we’re grateful to him for his constant attention and very helpful interventions. We are working to deepen that partnership, and keep it focused on addressing Pakistan’s political and economic challenges, as well as our shared threats.

After so much sacrifice in Iraq, we have a chance to help the Iraqi people build a stable democratic country in the heart of the Middle East. What we are hoping will happen in Egypt and in Libya and in Tunisia is happening in Iraq. And it is imperative that as our troops come home, our civilians take the lead, helping Iraqis resolve conflicts peacefully, training police, and inculcating the habits of the heart that are at the root of any kind of democratic society. Shifting responsibilities from soldiers to civilians actually saves taxpayers a great deal of money. The military’s total OCO request worldwide will drop by $45 billion from 2010, while our costs in State and USAID will increase by less than $4 billion for Iraq. Every business owner I know would gladly invest $4 to save $45.

Second, even as our civilians help bring today’s wars to a close, we are working to prevent tomorrow’s. This budget devotes over $4 billion in sustaining a strong U.S. presence in volatile places where our security and interests are at stake. In Yemen, it provides security, development, and humanitarian assistance in the midst of the headquarters for al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula. It focuses on those same goals in Somalia. It has helped the northern and southern Sudanese chart a peaceful future, and we need to stay on that path. It helps Haiti rebuild. And it proposes a new global security contingency fund that would pool resources and expertise with the Defense Department. We are trying to tear down the walls and the bureaucratic jurisdictional obstacles that too often prevent the United States Government from being as efficient as it can be by bringing all of our government assets together.

This budget also strengthens allies and partners. It trains Mexican police to take on violent cartels and secure our southern border. It provides nearly $3.1 billion for Israel, and supports Jordan and the Palestinians. It does help Egypt and Tunisia, and it supports security assistance to over 130 nations.

Now over the years, these security funds have created valuable ties with foreign militaries. We saw that in real time when it came to Egypt. Because the United States military has trained a generation of Egyptian officers, because that experience built relationships between American military leaders and Egyptian military leaders, we saw the Egyptian military refuse to fire on their own people. And there were many, many conversations going on between people who weren’t picking up the phone for the first time but who had trained together, lived together, worked together. Across the board, we are trying to ensure that all who share the benefits of our spending also share the burdens of addressing common challenges.

Third, we are making targeted investments in human security. We have focused on hunger. And thank you so much, Senator Lugar, for your constant, constant pointing out that this is in America’s interests as well as the world’s interests. We have invested in preventing and ameliorating the effects of disease, climate change, humanitarian emergencies. These challenges not only threaten the security of individuals, and increasingly in our world, individuals here at home, but they are the seeds of future conflict. If we want to lighten the burden on future generations, we have to make the investments that will make our world more secure.

Our largest investment is in global health programs, including those launched and led by President George W. Bush. These programs stabilize entire societies that have been devastated by HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases. They save the lives of mothers and children and they halt the spread of deadly diseases. Global food prices are approaching an all-time high. Three years ago, this led to protests and riots in dozens of countries. Food security is a cornerstone of global stability. We are helping farmers to grow more food, drive economic growth, and turn aid recipients into trading partners. And I look forward to working closely with the Congress as we try to really sharpen this program.

Now climate change, we know, threatens food security, human security, and national security. Our budget helps to build resilience against droughts, floods, and other weather disasters. It promotes clean energy and it preserves tropical forests. It gives leverage to us to persuade China, India, and other nations to do their part as well.

Fourth, we are committed to making our foreign policy a force for domestic economic renewal. We are working aggressively to promote sustained economic growth, level playing fields, open markets, and create jobs here at home. And we are fighting for companies large and small. For example, our economic officers in the Philippines helped Jarden Zinc win a $21 million raw materials contract that will create and preserve jobs throughout Senator Corker’s home state of Tennessee.

Fifth and finally, this budget funds the people and platforms that make possible everything I have described. It allows us to sustain diplomatic relations with 190 countries. It funds political officers who are working to diffuse crises and promote our values, development officers spreading opportunity and stability, economic officers who wake up every day thinking about how to put Americans back to work.

Several of you have asked the Department about the safety of your constituents in the Middle East. Well, this budget also helps fund the consular officers who evacuated over 2,600 Americans from Egypt and Libya, and nearly 17,000 from Haiti. They issued 14 million passports last year and served as our first line of defense against would-be terrorists seeking visas to enter our country.

I’d like to say just a few words about our funding for the rest of 2011. As I have told Speaker Boehner and Chairman Rogers and many others, the 16 percent cut for State and USAID that passed the House last month would be devastating to our national security. It would force us to scale back dramatically on critical missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. As Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, and General Petraeus have all emphasized to the Congress time and again, we need a fully engaged and fully funded national security team, including State and USAID.

Now there have always been moments of temptation in our country to resist obligations beyond our borders, but each time we have shrunk from global leadership, events have summoned us back to reality. We saved money in the short term when we walked away from Afghanistan after the Cold War, but those savings came at an unspeakable cost, one we are still paying 10 years later in money and lives.

Generations of Americans have grown up successful and safe because we chose to lead the world in tackling its greatest challenges. We’re the ones who invested the resources to build up democratic allies and vibrant trading partners in every region. We did not shy away from defending our values, promoting our interests, and seizing the opportunities of each new era.

I believe, as I have traveled around the world – and I am now the most traveled Secretary of State in history – the world has never been in greater need of the qualities that distinguish us as Americans – our openness and innovation, our determination, our devotion to universal values. Everywhere I travel, I see people looking to us for leadership. This is a source of strength, a point of pride, and a great opportunity for the American people. But it is an achievement, not a birthright. It requires resolve and it requires resources. So I look forward to working closely together with all of you to do what is necessary to keep our country safe and maintain American leadership in a very fast-changing world.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

PRN: 2011/311