Ranking Member DeLauro Statement at the Subcommittee Markup of the 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Funding Bill

2023-06-23 10:17

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill:

– As Prepared for Delivery –

Thank you, Chairman Diaz-Balart and Ranking Member Barbara Lee, and thank you Chairwoman Granger for your work on this subcommittee. I would also like to thank the majority and minority staff, particularly Erin Kolodjeski, Laurie Mignone, and Lillian Wasvary.

Where should I start? This bill fails to protect Americans, weakens our national security, and yields America’s position as the leader of the global community to our adversaries. The greatest challenges facing the United States are multi-dimensional and cross borders. House Republican’s 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill shortchanges foreign assistance, abdicates our country’s leadership on the global stage, hinders our ability to address the climate crisis, abandons global security, and harms women around the world. I think you have misplaced where you want a wall. You are in the process of building a wall around the entire nation.

This is a reversal of the United States’ historic position on the world stage. We are supposed to be the leaders of the free world. World War II established the United States as the foremost superpower – the global model of democracy and freedom and generosity. But whether we are talking about military, economic, or humanitarian assistance and influence, or any of the areas that our foreign policy takes us – this bill completely unravels the hard-fought credibility we have earned to be global leaders. It subverts global peace and security. 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.

Not to mention, the majority is imperiling the relevance of the Appropriations Committee, not just domestically as we have in the last several days, but internationally as well. Republicans have walked away from the agreement agreed to between the Speaker of the House and the President of the United States.

The majority’s allocation proposed an unfathomable thirty-one percent cut to our nation’s ability to engage in diplomacy and to project soft power. But they knew from the start such a cut would be irresponsible and lead to negative repercussions around the world. Like many of the other bills, this bill claws back billions of dollars – $11 billion of which come from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, part of the Inflation Reduction Act. This fund leverages private sector investments to help communities all over the country modernize and transition their energy infrastructure. The program is set to directly create one million jobs over a decade – 380,000 in low-income and disadvantaged communities – and would produce $100 billion in cost savings over the expected lifetime of the investments. This is the same act we’ve seen over and over again – first in HR 1, and again in the Default on America Act. This is a historic program that will benefit Americans living in each of our districts, and it has no business being on the bargaining table.

With this level of funding, the majority looks to send us back to the isolationism of the early 20th century. We live in a time of escalating threats and competition abroad that require commanding influence and enduring cooperation with the international community. This is the wrong time to retreat in our efforts to engage peacefully and constructively. Other countries and our adversaries are engaging aggressively.

Global engagement and foreign assistance are critical to bolstering our national security. In the markup of the defense bill, our colleague, Defense Subcommittee Ranking Member McCollum invoked former President Trump’s defense secretary—allow me to echo that same statement. Former Secretary Mattis said, “If State Department funding gets cut, I need to buy more ammunition.” I can only guess how much more he would say we will need after the majority’s proposed cuts.

This bill abdicates U.S. leadership at the United Nations and other multilateral and international institutions by not including any funding for the UN Regular budget, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Health Organization (WHO) or most of our assessed contributions. Republicans eliminate the International Organizations and Programs Account, endangering support for UN Women, UNICEF, and the UN Development Program (UNDP). When it comes to international cooperation, withdrawing from these organizations is putting America last and allowing others to take our place.

This bill prohibits the U.S. from contributing to the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA – the world’s largest provider of donated contraceptives to developing countries. In addition to providing family planning services, UNFPA seeks to end preventable maternal death and gender-based violence and harmful practices. Stopping preventable death. Ending female genital mutilation. Republicans don’t believe we have an interest or role in either.

And by shortchanging humanitarian programs at a time when a historic number of refugees are fleeing conflict and instability, the United States will not have the tools to properly respond and assist our allies.

Finally, the partisan riders are another reminder of where the majority is looking to take this process. More bans on D-E-I, gender affirming care, and drag shows, for good measure. This is the pure insertion of politics into our foreign policy and we must reject it.

For all of these reasons, I must vote against this bill, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

Thank you, and I yield back.


118th Congress