Rogers Remarks at FY23 State and Foreign Operations Full Committee Markup

Jun 29, 2022

Thank you, Madam Chair for the time.

The chairman’s mark before us provides $64.58 billion for the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, that is a 15 percent increase over the fiscal year 2022. I have serious concerns about this funding level and how the resources were allocated in the bill.

As I told the administration witnesses that came before this subcommittee seeking billions more in spending this year, increases of this magnitude are not realistic and create expectations that cannot be met. 

Before I address additional concerns, I want to thank the chair for accommodating Member requests on both sides of the aisle where you were able to do so. I also appreciate the $3.3 billion included for our great ally Israel, continued support for other key partners around the globe, and a welcome focus on our pacific island partners. I am also pleased that the bill maintains robust funding for embassy security to help ensure our people and facilities overseas are safe including continuing dedicated work dealing with the Havana Syndrome, which affects our personnel overseas and now here at home.

These are extraordinary times for American security and those of our allies and partners around the world. As Russia continues their brutal assault on the people of Ukraine, Putin’s partners in Beijing are accelerating efforts to dominate the Indo-Pacific and overturn the rules-based international order.

In this circumstance, America’s priorities should be clear. The centerpiece of American strategy needs to be rallying and defending our fellow democracies, as well as other supporters of the rules-based system, against this axis of autocrats. 

If we are to deter the imperial aspirations of our great power rivals, we must invest in the tools of hard power. Unfortunately, this bill falls short on the most fundamental priority – protecting our national security. 

Instead of providing robust increases for security assistance to key allies and partners, the mark instead holds flat or cuts these key investments. In addition, the bill includes conditions and other punitive measures on the aid for some of our most important strategic partners. This approach is counterproductive to our own interests, especially at this critical moment in history. 

What could be more important than our national security? According to the bill before us, the answer is an extreme climate change agenda, the United Nations, increasing the size of the bureaucracy, and other misguided priorities. 

Despite an increase of nearly $9 billion dollars in this bill over the enacted level, nothing was added for security assistance to counter China’s malign influence and deter aggression in the Indo-Pacific, yet there is a whopping $1.6 billion made available for the Green Climate Fund.

Funding is increased for the United Nations and the bill drops long-standing conditions on some of the most scrutinized U.N. organizations – the U.N. Human Rights Commission and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

The bill also contains a provision strongly objected to by the Financial Services Committee, that would authorize the United States to lend up to $21 billion in Special Drawing Rights to a new trust fund at the International Monetary Fund to address climate change and health care abroad. 

Traditionally, these have been missions of the World Bank and its sister organizations. I cannot imagine what expertise the fund has in this field, and the administration has not persuaded our side of the aisle why we should support this unwarranted mission creep at the IMF. This is another provision that will need to be addressed if this bill is to move forward to conference.

Finally, the most extreme and concerning parts of this bill are the changes made to the long-standing measures that protect the sanctity of life. These are common-sense provisions that have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades. Of greatest concern is the removal of the most important condition in any State-Foreign Operations bill – that no funds can be used to pay for abortion. This change is a non-starter, but it doesn’t stop there. 

The bill also includes a permanent prohibition of the Mexico City Policy, weakens the Kemp-Kasten restrictions on coercive abortion, increases funding to U.N.F.P.A., and many other partisan changes.

These radical measures are the surest way to jeopardize support for this bill, and there is no chance at passing it into law with such extreme policy positions and misplaced funding priorities. These issues must be addressed as the process moves forward.

Before I close, I would like to thank the staff from both sides of the aisle for all their hard work on behalf of all of us. Their efforts are appreciated.

Thank you, Madam Chair. I yield back.