Ranking Member DeLauro Floor Remarks in Opposition to the 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Funding Bill

2023-09-28 10:03

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 4665, the fiscal year 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill:

Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to the 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs funding bill.

I want to begin with comments from President Trump’s Former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. He had this to say in response to this very bill’s cut of the State and Foreign Operations allocation: “When we don’t lead, we create a vacuum that will be filled instead by China.” He continued, “America’s leadership means more than just military capability; diplomacy and foreign assistance are part of it too. This proposed budget would upend that relationship by gutting our civilian toolkit and depriving America of the diplomatic leadership whose benefits I have seen last a lifetime.” End quote.

Also, The Global Health Council, together with 70 other organizations, the Catholic Relief Services, the United States Global Leadership Coalition, the American Jewish Committee, InterAction, the ONE Campaign, the Chrisitian Connection for International Health, and CARE USE have expressed serious national security concerns with the House Republicans’ funding plan. Mr. Chair, I plan to submit a compilation of these concerns for the record.

We are told that this 2024 State and Foreign Operations funding bill is tough on our adversaries; the opposite is true. This bill cedes America’s position as the leader of the global community, weakens our national security, shortchanges foreign assistance, hinders our ability to address the climate crisis, and harms women around the world.

This is a reversal of the United States’ historic position on the world stage and promotes isolationism. We are supposed to be leaders of the free world. The majority is diminishing the United States, what we stand for, and what our values are – for our own people and for people around the world who look to us for inspiration and hope.

Damage has already been done as partners and allies wonder whether the United States will be with them or whether they will be forced to turn to China or Russia to get needed investment or support in international institutions. 

With China surpassing the United States as the largest trading partner in many countries in Latin American and in Africa, China has more embassies, consulates, and diplomats than any other country in the world. They are contesting our model of democracy and capitalism around the world, and they are going virtually unchallenged.

This bill is an unfathomable reduction of our nation’s ability to engage in diplomacy and to project soft power by over one third. But knowing such a cut would be irresponsible and lead to negative repercussions around the world, this bill claws back billions of dollars – $11 billion of which comes from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Yesterday, this body debated how to address the challenges related to the thousands of desperate people reaching our southern border. However, with these cuts, the Department of State and USAID will be forced to reduce programs that engage countries like Colombia and Guatemala to address the very conditions causing people to flee to the United States. We cannot wait to address the issue when people are already at our border.

We all know what we should be doing right now, and this is not it. The urgent issue is keeping the lights on. Everyone in this body knows keeping the U.S. government running – and passing full-year bills – will require bipartisanship.

Democrats and Republicans already compromised when they passed the debt limit bill, but because House Republicans immediately reneged, they have moved us to the brink of a shutdown. A Republican shutdown that will have consequences on every senior, veteran, and child in America, and on our diplomats and servicemembers around the world. Let us move to keep our government open and support the Senate compromise.

Thank you, and I yield back.


118th Congress