Last night, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) recognized Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Representatives Kay Granger (R-TX) and Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) for their long-standing commitment to America’s global leadership through strong U.S. development and diplomacy programs. Close to 1,000 people representing a who’s who of the U.S. foreign policy community were on hand to honor the three leaders for supporting a robust U.S. International Affairs Budget.
“The world can be a messy and difficult place. But what we do beyond our borders matters more here at home than it ever has,” said Vice President Biden. “At just over one percent of our federal budget, American investment in diplomacy and development is one of the best bargains the American taxpayer gets.”
Discussing the national security importance of the International Affairs Budget, the Vice President went on to say, “Our success against terrorism, extremism and pandemic disease depends upon development where it matters most. Without it, extremism grows, terrorism becomes a viable option, and pandemic disease increases the prospect of it flourishing.”
Showing the important bipartisan support that exists for U.S. engagement in the world, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) led the tribute to his longtime colleague, Vice President Biden, saying, “Our military cannot address every one of the deep-rooted causes of violence and instability in the world. Diplomacy and global development are indispensable to our success. Don’t take my word for it. Ask anyone in the military in command or in the ranks. They’ll tell you how critically important foreign assistance is to preventing wars and winning the peace.”
Representatives Granger and Lowey are two of the leading voices on Capitol Hill for strengthening America’s commitment to a smart power foreign policy in the world as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee respectively.
“The United States plays an important role on the world stage both in terms of our leadership and our responsibility to invest wisely in countries to help advance democratic principles, and enhance our security partnerships,” said Congresswoman Granger. “I’ve also witnessed firsthand the significance of U.S. engagement around the world; whether it’s through bolstering global education, HIV prevention or assistance to help our allies protect themselves from external threats, the benefits are real and tangible.”
“It is a special honor to receive USGLC’s recognition alongside my friends Vice President Biden and Congresswoman Kay Granger, two great advocates for America’s global leadership and for strong and effective foreign assistance,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Democrats and Republicans must continue working together to ensure that we invest in the vital programs that strengthen our national security by promoting democracy, prosperity, and stability around the world.”
The event was co-chaired by longtime USGLC members, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Sesame Workshop, further demonstrating the broad support America’s investments in the smart power tools of development and diplomacy has across the country.
“For Lockheed Martin and the hundreds of businesses gathered here today, there is simply no choice about whether to be engaged in important global issues,” said Marillyn A. Hewson, CEO and President of Lockheed Martin Corporation. “Today, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S., and over half of our exports already go to the developing world, a number that’s only going to grow. The International Affairs Budget is critical to our nation’s future.”
“Helping others is part of our national identity,” said H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “Investing in diplomacy, education and development opportunities across the world is the right thing to do both morally and for the stability and economic growth of all nations. Improving the educational outcomes of the world’s most vulnerable children is in all our interests.”
Also on the program was Grover, the self-described “lovable, cute and furry” Sesame Workshop Muppet, who told USGLC Chairman Dan Glickman and Executive Director Liz Schrayer that “when I go on my trips around the world I will tell all my friends how you are working to build a better, safer, and more prosperous world.”
“While many of us may disagree on some things, it’s clear tonight that Democrats, Republicans and Independents all come together around the importance of America’s engaged role in the world by eradicating diseases like HIV/AIDS, feeding the hungry, and fighting global poverty,” said Glickman. “The International Affairs Budget provides America with the tools and the resources we need to lead in the world, and this small one percent investment provides a tremendous return for our security, economy, and values as a nation. We are grateful for the leadership of Vice President Biden, Representatives Granger and Lowey, as well as Senator McCain, in calling for a strong and effective International Affairs Budget.”
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.