A record-breaking 162 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle urges President George W. Bush to make a greater investment in America's diplomatic and development programs as the Administration prepares its FY 2008 Federal Budget Request
Despite a packed legislative agenda and with the end of the Congressional session quickly approaching, this outstanding effort was spearheaded in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Norm Coleman (R-MN), with a record 53 Senators from both sides of the aisle signing the letter. On the House side, Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA-28), Christopher Shays (R-CT-4), Joseph Knollenberg (R-MI-9), and Vic Snyder (D-AR-2) drove the effort to garner more than 109 Republican and Democratic signatures on the letter to President Bush. Currently, the proposed FY 2007 International Affairs Budget totals 35.1 billion dollars -- a mere 1.2 percent of the overall FY 2007 Federal Budget -- yet it provides the U.S. with priceless opportunities to generate much needed allies, partners and friends.
"Today, more than ever, it is critical that we continue to fund our U.S. International Affairs Budget," said Sen. Feinstein. "U.S. foreign assistance programs offer relief to the millions of victims of poverty, starvation, and illiteracy found throughout the developing world. By giving these communities in need the tools to target these root causes of terrorism, we not only help promote basic humanitarian values, we also help establish greater stability and security abroad, and encourage greater economic prosperity here at home."
"As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I can attest to the substantial contributions foreign assistance programs make to economic development, higher living standards and improved health and nutrition," noted Rep. Chris Shays.