Granger Remarks on State and Foreign Operations FY21 Subcommittee Markup

Jul 6, 2020

Madam Chair, thank you for yielding.

Before I begin my remarks about the State-Foreign Operations bill, I want to take a moment to recognize you, Mrs. Lowey, as you begin your last appropriations season.

Nita and I took turns as chair and ranking member of this subcommittee, and we accomplished many things, even though we had policy disagreements.

At the beginning, many people questioned how the Jewish grandmother from New York and the Methodist grandmother from Texas could work together. Then, several years later, we were named to InStyle magazine’s “Badass 50.” That tells you everything you need to know about our relationship.

We worked together on critical issues in global health, including combating HIV/AIDS and malaria, and supporting life-saving maternal and child health programs.

We both recognize the importance of education for women and girls, and we have stood firm in our support, but no one can say they have done more to advance this cause than Nita Lowey.

Her legacy will be a generation of educated girls that will have the power to shape the future.

It would not have been possible without Nita’s tireless efforts and insistence that funding for basic education was prioritized —regardless of who was in the White House.

For Nita, it was about more than just the money. She pressed to make sure our investments delivered results.

One day, when we get back to conducting trips to oversee programs funded in this bill, be sure to visit a school or meet with women in leadership roles. Chances are they were touched in some way by the dedication of Nita Lowey.

Now, turning to the State-Foreign Operations bill before us today.

During this time of instability around the world, it is important to remember that our investments abroad can make us more secure at home. The fiscal year 2021 bill funds many programs that would do just that.

The bill provides $3.3 billion for Israel, demonstrating our unwavering support for the security of our great ally and partner.

It protects funding for embassy security and counter-terrorism programs. The bill also includes funds to advance global health, promote democracy, and address human trafficking.

Unfortunately, while there are areas where we agree, I have serious concerns about partisan riders that have been inserted and the negative impact they could have.

The bill includes permanent changes in law that would overturn the current Mexico City Policy, making it legal for grantees to receive federal funding, even if they perform abortions.

This is controversial language that I hope we can reverse as the bill moves forward. 

I am also disappointed to see that policies in the bill aimed at enhancing transparency and accountability at the United Nations were removed.

Finally, I am concerned about the level of spending in this bill and others that we will mark up over the next few days.

We had a budget agreement less than a year ago where we settled on spending caps. Now is not the time to reverse course without buy-in from Members on our side of the aisle.

To close, I want to thank Ranking Member Rogers, the former chairman of the full committee, for his leadership on this subcommittee.

I also want to thank my staff – Susan Adams and Jamie McCormick – as well as Steve Marchese, the Majority clerk, and all of Mrs. Lowey’s staff.

Madam Chair, before I close, I also want to wish you a happy belated birthday. I hope you were able to celebrate a little yesterday.

I yield back.