House Passes Foreign Relations Authorization Bill
|Saturday, June 13,2009 03:21|
The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410) was approved yesterday by the House. This legislation, the first such bill introduced since 2002, aims to invigorate American diplomacy efforts through Department of State and USAID expansion and training. It also throws weight behind development as a key tenet of U.S. foreign policy.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA), who introduced this bill, defended its strategic importance, “Diplomacy, development and defense are the three key pillars of our national security. By wisely investing resources to strengthen our diplomatic capabilities, we can help prevent conflicts before they start, and head off the conditions that lead to failed states. This approach is much more cost-effective than providing massive amounts of humanitarian aid, funding peacekeeping operations, or–in the most extreme circumstances–putting U.S. boots on the ground.”
The bill includes provisions to strengthen Department of State and USAID capabilities and establish a review of Department policies; uphold financial and peacekeeping commitments to the United Nations; expand the Peace Corps; establish oversight for military exports and nonproliferation; found a Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation to facilitate overseas study for more Americans; fight drug trafficking in the Caribbean; and uphold intellectual property rights.
Designating $18 billion for 2010 alone, the bill faced opposition from Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL),“[t]his bill calls for exorbitant spending in the absence of true reform, and it does not take the difficult but necessary step of setting priorities, either with out-of-control spending or important international issues facing our country.”