Chairman Rogers Opening Statement at FY 2013 State and Foreign Operations Full Committee Mark Up

May 17, 2012

Thank you both for your remarks, and I congratulate you on producing a solid Appropriations bill and for bringing this bill to the Full Committee. It’s a sign of the important progress we have made in making the appropriations process more open, transparent and thorough.

Another achievement of this Committee has been our unprecedented success in reining in federal spending. For two fiscal years in a row, we cut discretionary spending below the previous year – more than $95 billion – without decimating the programs and services our citizens rely on, and we are on track to continue that trend this year.

Facing record-high deficits, we have to make responsible, but difficult choices to cut spending. We can’t stay indebted to foreign entities and competitors at these unsustainable levels, and we can’t keep spending more than we have. This means prioritizing the programs that do the most for a job-creating economy and a robust national defense, while trimming lower-priority areas.

The State/Foreign Operations bill is an example of how we can reduce spending but fulfill our obligations domestically and internationally. The bill makes sound investments across the globe – supporting critical national security and diplomatic efforts crucial to maintaining our worldwide leadership. Totaling $40.1 billion in regular discretionary funding, the bill funds diplomatic operations and foreign assistance activities that promote democracy, encourage international development, provide humanitarian assistance, and help fight drug trafficking and violent crime, particularly within the Americas.

The bill also provides security support to critical allies, including fully funding the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding, and includes an additional $8.2 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations and Global War on Terror funding.

But within this bill, we found several areas where we were able to slice spending to more responsible and careful levels – cutting $5 billion – or 9% - from fiscal year 2012. These common-sense cuts balance our international responsibilities with the very real and dangerous economic challenges we face here at home.

The funds in this bill are targeted around the globe, and it’s more crucial than ever that we keep a close eye on how they are being used – to ensure they are doing the most to benefit our nation and our taxpayers who are footing the bill. Therefore, accompanying these funding levels are stringent oversight requirements, additional reporting obligations, and tougher conditions on funding for foreign governments and international entities.

Thank you again, Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Lowey, for your tireless work on this important legislation, and to your conscientious staffs for their efforts as well. This is a good bill that does more with less, while keeping our international commitments.  I urge this Committee to support this legislation.