Chairman Rogers Opening Statement on FY 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for Subcommittee Markup

May 9, 2012

I thank the Chairwoman for yielding, and I congratulate her and Ranking Member Lowey on producing a fiscal year 2013 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill. The Chairwoman, Ranking Member, and staff on both sides have worked tirelessly to bring this important legislation before the subcommittee today.

Unquestionably, the fiscal situation confronting our nation is of the utmost importance to our national and economic security. The unsustainable trajectory of federal spending in recent years has left us in a precarious situation. With our debt-to GDP ratio at a startling 100%, it is becoming even more abundantly clear that we cannot spend our way out of continuing economic woes.

The Appropriations Committee has been front and center in restoring frugality, transparency and thoughtfulness to the discretionary portion of our federal expenditures. Indeed, last year was an historic one for this committee – we cut spending by $95 billion while completing two fiscal years’ worth of work. I am proud that my colleagues on the Committee are continuing our commitment to report responsible bills under regular order.

The State/Foreign Operations bill before us provides responsible investments in critical national security and diplomatic efforts. The bill fully funds the US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding and supports key neighbors in our hemisphere - including Colombia and Mexico - to help fight drug trafficking and violent crime.

The bill also includes $8.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terror funding which will adequately provide for continued U.S. involvement in front line countries and other war-related efforts. In total, including war funding, the bill is $5 billion – or 9% -- below fiscal year 2012.

During this time of monumental deficits and skyrocketing debt, this bill takes several steps to focus on oversight and management. With respect to countries that have provided challenges to U.S. diplomacy and foreign policy, funds are only made available after these governments have met tough conditions. In addition, where necessary, we have cut funding for ineffective and unproven programs.  

The Chairwoman’s emphasis on supporting national security, reducing spending, and implementing reform is the right approach for addressing our international interests. I urge that the subcommittee promptly report this bill to the full Committee.