Congresswoman Kay Granger Opening Statement: Appropriations Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to begin by noting your continued support for the State-Foreign Operations bill. Our allocation of $52 billion has allowed us to produce a good bill that addresses many bipartisan priorities.
I also want to thank my friend, Mrs. Lowey, for her dedication to this Subcommittee.
We have a great group of members on both sides of the aisle. I especially want to note the work of my friend Ander Crenshaw, who will be leaving us at the end of this Congress. He has played an important role in making foreign assistance programs more accountable, transparent and effective.
The bill before us today supports U.S. national security priorities.
It fully funds the request for embassy security and maintains our commitment to the security of our allies and partners, such as Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Ukraine, as well as our neighbors in Colombia, Mexico and countries in Central America.
The bill also provides strong support to Iraq, with a particular focus on helping the Kurds, who are fully engaged in the fight against ISIS.
We also increase funding for programs that stop terrorism around the world by improving border and aviation security and dismantling networks that finance terrorists.
During this time of unprecedented political change, the bill strongly supports democracy programs and international broadcasting.
The bill rejects deep cuts proposed by the President for life-saving humanitarian relief overseas, and it provides strong support for bipartisan health priorities.
As we saw with Ebola and now with the Zika virus, diseases that are spreading in other countries can quickly become concerns here at home. That is why we provide $200 million for global health security and to address health threats as they emerge. This funding will help countries better prepare for the next crisis. It also ensures funds will be on-hand for the next health emergency.
The bill provides funds above the request for maternal and child health. It fully funds the request for UNICEF. These funds can also be used to address the Zika virus, if needed. In addition, we provide new funds to address malaria, without redirecting Ebola funds that the Administration proposed.
The commitment in this bill to address global health and humanitarian priorities is clear, and I thank my colleagues for their commitment to these issues.
The bill also supports many other bipartisan areas of interest, such as addressing human trafficking and wildlife poaching, by providing resources above the requested level.
In order to address all of these priorities within our allocation, the bill reduces funds for the United Nations, international organizations, and financial institutions.
The bill strengthens oversight, transparency and accountability to ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected. We fully fund the agencies’ Inspectors General, and we address deficiencies in agency processes and financial accounting systems.
One area of focus is improving foreign military financing and sales programs.
We cannot ask our partners to take on an increased role in the fight against ISIS and other threats and then sit on their requests for U.S. equipment. This does significant harm to our relationships around the world; drives our partners to purchase weapons from other countries; and risks U.S. jobs.
This bill takes the first step to change the way we provide aid to our partners.
I hope that all of us can continue to find common ground and work together as this bill moves through the process.