Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken Before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member McCaul, all committee members, thank you very, very much for this opportunity to talk about our proposed budget and how it will help achieve our national security priorities and deliver results for the American people, which is what I know all of us are about.

This is a critical moment for the United States and our global leadership.

We face major tests – you’ve alluded to some of them already – including stopping COVID-19, rising to the challenge of the climate crisis, supporting a global economic recovery that delivers for our workers and their families.

We got to revitalize our alliances and partnerships, out-compete China, and defend the international rules-based order against those who would seek to undermine it, renew democratic values at home and abroad, and push back against malign activity by our adversaries.

In a more competitive world, other countries are making historic investments in their foreign policy toolkits.  We need to do the same.

That’s why, in this budget, we’ve requested $58.5 billion for the State Department and USAID for Fiscal Year 2022.

Here are some specifics.

This budget will strengthen global health. The United States has been a leader in this field for decades – in Africa, around the world.

We’re asking for $10 billion for global health programs, including nearly $1 billion for global health security, to help us prevent, prepare for, and better respond to future global health crises so we can stop outbreaks before they turn into pandemics that put our safety and our prosperity in danger.

The budget will accelerate the global response to climate change and the climate crisis by providing $2.5 billion for international climate programs, including $1.25 billion for the Green Climate Fund, to help developing countries implement climate adaptation and emissions mitigation programs, which is directly in our own interest as well.

The budget will double down on the fight for democracy, which, as we all know, is under threat in too many places.

Our budget request includes $2.8 billion in foreign assistance to advance human rights, to fight corruption, stem the tide of democratic backsliding, and strengthen and defend democracies – for example, through technical training for elections and support for independent media and civil society.

It also requests $300 million for the National Endowment for Democracy.

The budget will support a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of irregular migration from Central America.

It will invest $861 million in the region, as a first step toward a four-year commitment of $4 billion to help prevent violence, reduce poverty, curtail endemic corruption, and expand job and educational opportunities.

The budget will reestablish U.S. humanitarian leadership, with a request for 10 billion in assistance to support refugees, victims of conflict, and other displaced people, and to rebuild our refugee admissions program.

It will support our partners in the Middle East by fully funding our commitments to key countries, including Israel and Jordan, and by restoring humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

It includes a budget request of $3.6 billion to pay our assessed contributions in full to international organizations, initiatives, and peacekeeping efforts, including to restore our annual contributions to the World Health Organization.

As China and others work hard to bend international organizations to their worldview, we need to ensure that these organizations instead remain grounded in the values, principles, and rules of road and rules of the world that have made our shared progress possible for so many decades.

Finally, to deliver in all of these areas, this budget reinvests in our most vital asset – our people.

It will provide new resources to recruit, train, and retain a first-rate, diverse global workforce, with nearly 500 additional Foreign and Civil Service positions – the largest increase for the State Department staffing in a decade.

And it will modernize our technology and cybersecurity, protect our embassies and consulates, and include a direct appropriation of $320 million for consular services worldwide, so we can continue to provide these vital services to Americans and those who seek to travel, study, or do business in the United States.

Our national security depends not only on the strength of our armed forces but also our ability to conduct effective diplomacy and development.

That’s how we solve global challenges, forge cooperation, advance our interests and values, protect our people, and prevent crises overseas from turning into emergencies here at home.

And that’s why diplomacy and development are smart investments for our taxpayers.

A top priority for me as Secretary is to restore the traditional role of Congress as a partner in our foreign policy making.

That’s the spirit that I bring to today’s conversation, and I’m grateful for the chance to answer your questions.

Thank you very much.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

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