Second-term Reps. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) banded together to send an important message to new incoming members of the House: support the foreign affairs budget:
We must work together to ensure that our national security focuses on the three pillars — defense, diplomacy and development. Neglecting the second two pillars can be costly — in terms of unnecessary spending and, more important, American lives.
National security experts repeatedly extol the virtues and importance of a strong international affairs budget to keep our nation safe and build our economy. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has highlighted the importance of diplomacy and development in U.S. foreign policy. “Without development,” Gates said, “we will not be successful in either Iraq or Afghanistan.” He asserted, “Economic development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.”
Gates is not alone in his assessment of international development as a key foreign policy tool. Numerous bipartisan commissions, among them the 2006 National Security Strategy, the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review, the 9/11 commission and the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group, all concluded that a strong and effective international affairs budget is essential to ensuring U.S. security in the 21st century…
…As freshmen, you are likely to face a dizzying array of difficult decisions. But foreign assistance shouldn’t be one of them. A strong and effective international affairs budget is critical to our national and economic security.