Diaz-Balart Remarks During Floor Consideration of H.R. 4665, The Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act
Madam Chairwoman, I am proud to speak on the Fiscal Year 2024 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill for floor consideration today.
If you’ve read the bill, you know it is very straightforward.
If you are a friend or an ally of the United States, this bill supports you.
If you are an adversary or are cozying up to our adversaries, then frankly, you will not like this bill.
I am extremely proud of this bill, which was carefully and thoughtfully developed over many months.
In my judgment, it reflects the values and interests of most Americans.
We carefully reviewed all the organizations and programs that receive U.S. taxpayer dollars.
Among the key factors:
- Whether investments advance our national security;
- Demonstrated results; and
- Our national debt and the need to cut spending.
The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs bill totals $51.5 billion.
It cuts $8.2 billion, a 14% reduction below FY23 enacted level, and $17 billion or 25 % below the President’s request.
In fact, it is $2.7 billion below the FY19 enacted level and $288 million below the FY15 enacted level.
Because of those cuts, we are now able to prioritize funding for the national security threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party.
Look, it is time for the United States to get serious about the malign, destabilizing actions of Communist China around the world.
This measure does so, in an unprecedented manner.
The bill includes $4.4 billion, which is $1 billion above the President’s budget, to fund programs to counter the malign threat of the Chinese Communist Party.
For the first time, this bill includes $500 million in Foreign Military Financing for Taiwan.
These funds are critical to support our friend and democratic ally, which is on the front lines of China’s bullying and constant threats.
The bill provides unwavering support for our democratic ally Israel and other key partners and allies.
Another priority is to strengthen efforts in countries that counter fentanyl production and trafficking.
Deadly opioids, in particular fentanyl, are affecting our districts, our neighborhoods, and our schools.
300 Americans die daily from fentanyl poisoning.
We must use every tool to combat this epidemic.
The migration crisis at the southern border is symptomatic of this Administration’s lack of a clear strategy towards the Western Hemisphere.
For too long, countries cozying up to our adversaries have been rewarded, and this bill puts a stop to it.
This bill also recognizes the growing threat of authoritarian regimes in our own hemisphere and around the world.
Therefore, it fully funds democracy assistance accounts in support of freedom and human rights where they are most threatened.
Before discussing funding for the United Nations, I want to remind Members who is running the show there. It would be hard to even make this up, but remarkably, it’s true.
- Russia was Chair of the U.N. Security Council during the month of April;
- Iran is currently an elected Vice President of the U.N. General Assembly;
- Communist China, whose genocide against the Uighurs is raging;
- Cuba, one of the world’s oldest and most brutal dictatorships, sits on the U.N. Human Rights Council; and
- North Korea, which is an appallingly irresponsible, terrorist state that starves its people, is a member of the World Health Organization while Taiwan, a responsible ally, has been blocked from membership by Communist China.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that no funds are included in this bill for the U.N. regular budget.
My friends on the other side of the aisle argue that by cutting some of the funding to the U.N., the U.S. is abrogating its leadership. I disagree.
Simply continuing to unconditionally channel funding to a deeply flawed organization, despite multiple failures and appalling – even antisemitic – actions, is actually the abandonment of our responsibility to the U.S. taxpayer, and it ensures that nothing changes at that institution.
Actions need to have consequences, and the U.N. will feel them in this bill.
This bill also prohibits funds for the Green Climate Fund and the Clean Technology Fund.
We also address the frivolous expansion of State Department bureaucracy.
This bill eliminates funding for special envoys and special representatives that are not authorized, or not Senate confirmed.
If they are that important then have them authorized or Senate confirmed.
Finally, this bill includes all longstanding pro-life protections, which include a prohibition on all taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions.
And it builds on those requirements by applying the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy to all global health funding.
It is not surprising that after this bill was released, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle immediately condemned it.
What might surprise you is what the minority, in their press release, actually chose to highlight that they are outraged about.
Their press release criticized that the bill prohibits funding for “the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Eco Health Alliance, gain of function research, and any lab controlled by China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.” I am quoting from their press release.
These countries are on the official list of United States foreign adversaries, and three are state sponsors of terrorism.
Does anyone want taxpayer funds going to labs in these places, really?
Concerns with the “partisan riders” that specifically highlight the prohibition on funds to the Government of the PRC and the Chinese Communist Party and also prevent lending from International Financial Institutions to the PRC.
Well, they are exactly right. They caught me. We are eliminating funding to adversaries of the United States.
I look forward to hearing my colleagues on the other side of the aisle explain why the U.S. taxpayer should be funding those programs.
And why writing a blank check to any organization is a demonstration of leadership.
Before I close I want to thank the staff from the appropriations committee for their work on this bill – Susan Adams, Craig Higgins, Jamie McCormick, Trey Hicks, Meg Gallagher, John Muscolini, Clelia Alvarado, and Joe Cutler. And from the Minority Erin Kolodjeski, Laurie Mignon, and Lillian Wasvary.
I also want to thank Cesar Gonzalez, Gisselle Reynolds, and Autumn Morley from my personal office.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for bringing this crucial legislation to the floor which supports our allies and protects our national security in a smart, efficient, and thoughtful way.
I urge a yes vote, and I yield back.