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25 February 2010

Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, February 25, 2010

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Well, thank you, Chairwoman Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, members of the subcommittee, Chairman of the full committee Obey, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today.  When I was last here to discuss our budget, I emphasized my commitment to elevating diplomacy and development as core pillars of American power.  And since then, I have been heartened by the bipartisan support of this committee and the rest of Congress.  So let me take a minute to thank you on behalf of the men and women of the State Department and USAID who work every day around the world to put our foreign policy into action.

The budget we are presenting today is designed to protect America and Americans and to advance our interests.  Our fiscal year 2011 request for the State Department and USAID totals $52.8 billion.  That is a $4.9 billion increase over 2010.  Of that increase, $3.6 billion will go to supporting efforts in “frontline states” – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.  Other funding will grow by $1.3 billion, or a 2.7 percent increase, that will help us address global challenges, strengthen essential partnerships, and ensure that the State Department and USAID are equipped with the right people and resources to meet the challenges of our time.

Over the past six weeks in Haiti, we have been reminded yet again of the importance of American leadership.  I am very proud of what our country has done, and we continue to work with our Haitian and international partners to address ongoing suffering and to help them move from relief to recovery.

Yet I also know this is a time of great economic strain for so many Americans.  As a former member of Congress, I know what this means for the people you represent.  For every dollar we spend, we have to show results.  That is why this budget must support programs vital to our national security, our national interests, and our leadership in the world, while guarding against waste, duplication, and irrelevancy.  And I believe it achieves those objectives.

Now, these figures in the budget are more than just numbers on a page.  They tell the story of the challenges we face and the resources we request to overcome them.

We are fighting two wars that call on the skill and sacrifice of our civilians as well as our troops. We have embarked on a dual-track approach to Iran that has led to a growing consensus and a new unity with our international partners.  Because of our efforts at engagement under the President’s leadership, we are now coming together with our countries to meet Iran’s continuing refusal to live up to its obligations with a unified and effective response.

We are fighting two wars that call on the skill and sacrifice of our civilians as well as our troops.  And we believe strongly that that what we are doing is essential to achieving our objectives.  Specifically, as you mentioned it with Iran, we believe that the President’s offer of engagement, combined with the dual-track approach, has left the international community little choice but to impose greater costs for its provocative steps. 

With China, we are seeking areas of common purpose while standing firm where we differ.  We are making concrete the promise of a new beginning with the Muslim world.  We are strengthening partnerships with allies in Europe and Asia, with our friends in our hemisphere, and with countries from India to Indonesia, from South Africa to Brazil and Turkey.  And we are working every day to end the impasse between Israelis and Palestinians.

At the same time, we are developing a new architecture of cooperation to meet global challenges like climate change and the use of our planet’s oceans.  In so many instances, our national interest and the common interest converge, and so we are promoting human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and internet freedom; we are fighting poverty, hunger, and disease; and working to ensure that economic growth is broadly shared.

Our agenda is ambitious because the times demand it.  America is called to lead and we have no alternative.   We can bury our heads in the sand and pay the consequences later, or we can make hard-nosed, targeted investments now.

Let me just highlight three areas where we’re making significant new investments.  First, the security of frontline states.

In Afghanistan, we have tripled the number of civilians in one year on the ground, and this presence will grow by hundreds more with the $5 billion in this budget.  Our diplomats and development experts are going in to Marjah with our troops.  They are embedded with our troops.  They are, as we speak, working to help set up institutions of government, expand economic opportunities, particularly in agriculture, and provide meaningful alternatives for insurgents ready to renounce violence.

In Pakistan, our request includes $3.2 billion to combat extremism, promote economic development, strengthen democratic institutions, and build a long-term relationship with the Pakistani people.  This includes funding of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman initiative.  Our request also includes a 59 percent increase in funding for Yemen to help counter the extremist threat brought to our shores by al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula and to build institutions and economic opportunity as an alternative.

In Iraq, we are winding down our military presence and establishing a more normal civilian mission.  Our civilian efforts will not and cannot mirror the scale of our military presence, but rather provide assistance consistent with the priorities of the Iraqi Government.  So our request includes $2.6 billion to help support the democratic process and ensure a smooth transition from the Department of Defense to civilian-led security training and operational support.  These funds will allow civilians to take full responsibility, and at the same time the Defense budget for Iraq will be decreasing by about $16 billion.  That’s a powerful illustration of the return on civilian investment.

We are blessed with the best military in the world, as we have seen time and again in today’s wars.  But we need to give our civilian experts the resources to do the job expected of them.  This budget takes a step in the right direction.  It includes $100 million for a State Department complex crises fund – replacing the 1207 fund through which the Defense Department directed money toward crisis response.  And it includes support for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, which previously also fell under the Defense Department.

The second major area is investing in development.  So this budget makes targeted investments in fragile societies – which, in our interconnected world, bear heavily on our own security and prosperity.  These investments are a key part of our efforts to get ahead of crises instead of just responding to them all the time.  I think it’ll help us be better positioned to deal with them and maybe prevent them, and I believe also can be less expensive.

The first of these is in health.  Building on our progress treating HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, our Global Health Initiative will invest $63 billion over six years, starting with $8.5 billion in FY11, to help our partners address specific diseases and to build strong, sustainable health systems for themselves.

The Administration has also pledged to invest at least $3.5 billion in food security over three years, and this year’s request includes $1.6 billion, of which $1.2 billion will be funded through the State Department.  This funding will focus on countries that have developed effective, comprehensive strategies, where agriculture is central to prosperity and hunger remains widespread.

On climate change, our request for $646 million seeks to promote the United States as a leader in green technology and to leverage other countries’ cooperation – including through the Copenhagen Accord, which for the first time brought together developed and developing countries.  And this is part of the Administration’s total request of $1.4 billion to support core climate-change activities in developing nations.

Our request also includes $4.2 billion for humanitarian assistance programs.  I think, again, our efforts in Haiti have made clear that State and USAID must be able to respond quickly and effectively to human tragedies.

These initiatives are designed to enhance American security, help people in need, and give the American people a strong return on their investment.  Our aim is not to create or perpetuate dependency.  We’re not going to be just aiming at giving fish to people forever.  We want to teach them to fish and help them devise solutions that will be in their best interest over time.  And essential to this is a focus on advancing equality and opportunity for women and girls, who are the key drivers of economic and social progress.

And that brings me to the final and third area of investment.  None of what we propose can happen if we don’t recruit, train, and empower the right people for the job.

The State Department and USAID are full of talented and committed public servants, but we too often they have been missing the tools needed to carry out their missions on the ground.  And rather than building their expertise over time, we have too often relied on contractors, sometimes with very little oversight and often at a greater cost.

This budget will allow us to expand the Foreign Service by over 600 positions, including an additional 410 for the State Department and 200 for USAID.  It will also allow us to staff the standby element of the Civilian Reserve Corps, a crucial tool for responding to crises.

Now, while deploying these personnel does generate new expenses in some accounts, it will reduce expenses in others by changing the way we do business.  We are ending an over-reliance on contractors.  We are saving money by bringing functions into government and improving oversight.  And we take very seriously the IG lessons that we are applying.

So I hope, Madam Chairwoman and Ranking Member, we can see from this budget that the United States State Department and USAID are taking the lead in helping to carry out foreign policy and national security.  And as we finish the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, we will have a unique opportunity to define the capabilities we need and match them with the resources and the priorities. 

I hope that we will continue to be able to work together in the year ahead.  This is essential if we’re going to enhance the security of Americans and assure the future of American leadership.  And I look forward to that, as I look forward now to taking your questions. 

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