Secretary Antony J. Blinken Opening Remarks Before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on the FY25 Department of State Budget Request

Secretary Antony J. Blinken Opening Remarks Before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on the FY25 Department of State Budget Request

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.  Always good to be with you.  Chairman Cole, thank you for being here this morning.  Ranking Member Lee, Ranking Member DeLauro, all the distinguished members of the subcommittee, thanks for the opportunity this morning to testify before you.

And thank you for the partnership that we have had to work to advance American leadership in a world at a time when it is so essential having that leadership in order to deliver on the priorities that actually matter to our people here at home.

I think the need for U.S. global leadership – and cooperation with allies and partners – has never been greater.  If we don’t, if we’re not engaged, if we’re not leading, then we know someone else will, and likely not in a way that advances our interests and values.  Or maybe even worse, no one does, and then you’re going to have a vacuum that’s filled by bad things before it’s filled by good things.

At the same time, we know that the very nature of the problems that we face – of greater multiplicity and a greater complexity – requires cooperation, coordination, work with allies and partners.  That’s more imperative than it’s been in my time here as well.

The People’s Republic of China is pursuing military, economic, and geopolitical preeminence, challenging our vision for a free, open, secure, and prosperous international order.

Russia is committing aggression not only against Ukraine, but against the principles at the heart of the United Nations Charter – sovereignty, territorial independence and integrity, independence – which are the very building blocks of global peace and security.

In the Middle East, we’ve been standing with Israel in its efforts to ensure that what happened on October 7th never happens again, as we do everything we can to bring about an end to the terrible human suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and to prevent the conflict from spreading to other fronts.

U.S. leadership is needed to address humanitarian crises elsewhere around the world, including in Sudan, Haiti.  We’ve seen millions of people in many other places displaced and killed.  We have to focus – and we are – on them.  And also to address, as many of you have said, the global issues that no one country can solve alone, whether that’s food security, changing climate, transnational corruption, the fentanyl crisis.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  The lies, greed, and hypocrisy of —

SECURITY:  This is your warning.  This is your warning right now.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  — our democracy have been exposed.  Free Palestine to free us all.

SECURITY:  Okay, you are placed under arrest for (inaudible) conduct.

CHAIRMAN DIAZ-BALART:  Mr. Secretary —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Free Palestine to free us all.  All liberation struggles are connected.  You should be arresting Blinken, not me.  You should be arresting Blinken, not me.

CHAIRMAN DIAZ-BALART:  We will not have disturbances in this committee.

Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

But with the support of Congress, we can and we are approaching these challenges from a position of strength.  Because of the actions we’ve taken, the United States is stronger economically, militarily, diplomatically than we were a few years ago.

We’ve made historic investments here at home in our competitiveness, in our innovation, in our infrastructure.  We’ve renewed our alliances, we’ve built new ones and secured unprecedented alignment with key partners in Europe, in Asia, and beyond.

We’ve delivered essential American aid to Ukraine and we’ve called the international community to share the burden.  For every dollar that we’ve spent in Ukraine on economic or development assistance, others have collectively invested three more.

Now, I know there was doubt about whether bipartisan support for Ukraine and other urgent national security priorities could endure.  But last month, Congress demonstrated to the world that we will not pull back when you passed President Biden’s supplemental funding bill by an overwhelming margin.

Our investment abroad does not come at the expense of our strength at home – far from it. Most of the supplemental is being spent here in the United States, building up our own defense industrial base, supporting thousands of good American jobs.

But we need to keep up this momentum.  That requires a State Department budget that we fully resource so that we can actually meet the challenges of this moment.

The FY25 budget the President has put forward requesting $58.8 billion for the State Department and USAID does that in two key ways.

First, it funds the essential missions of our department and USAID.  The budget will ensure that the United States continues to be the partner of choice for countries around the world when they turn to us and look to us to help them solve problems that they’re trying to solve but that are also profoundly in our interest to help solve.  In an era of renewed great power competition, we have to present the strongest possible offer: one that is relevant and responsive to countries’ needs, and one that advances our security and economic interests.

That’s why we’re requesting, among other things, $2 billion for a new fund to build high-quality, sustainable infrastructure around the world.  Crucially, investments like these create jobs for Americans and expand markets for our businesses overseas.

We’re requesting resources for the World Bank.  With $1 billion in U.S. funding, we can unlock another $36 billion in development fund capacity to direct to the top priorities of emerging economies.  That’s an enormous return on our investment – and essential for competing with China around the world.

The budget also includes $1.7 billion for international organizations, including the UN, APEC, the Inter-American Development Bank, to help shape them in ways that reflect our interests and our values.

We’re asking for $500 million to give more people around the world access to secure internet and digital technologies.  Doing that will support the U.S. economy through the export of our technology products.  It will also help that – ensure that we and our fellow democracies remain the leaders and standard-bearers in key technologies, including artificial intelligence.

Our budget includes funding to address global issues that affect the lives and the livelihoods of the American people, as well as people around the world – especially the synthetic drug crisis.  It also funds our response to irregular migration, global food insecurity, public health, climate, and energy security.

We’re also asking Congress to fully fund the State Department’s educational and cultural exchange programs.  They’re one of the best, most cost-effective tools that I’ve seen for advancing our values and interests around the world.  They support the students, the researchers, the young professionals from our communities who study and work abroad.  They connect us in the world, with the world in powerful human ways.

To outcompete our strategic rivals, we need to invest in the foundation of our strength abroad, and that is our diplomatic corps.  And that’s the second pillar of the budget.

Our budget makes a strong investment in expanding our overseas presence, opening posts in the Pacific Islands and the Eastern Caribbean.  As was noted, we want to make sure that we are represented at the ambassadorial level and that we have posts everywhere so that we can effectively represent our interests everywhere.

It will also continue our modernization of our diplomacy.  We have reorganized the department in ways to make it better fit to address the challenges that we face in this moment.  We’re working to attract and retain the best talent – again, needed to take on these challenges.  We’re investing in our people in Washington and overseas with training, with technology, with support.  We’re promoting greater agility, greater innovation, greater efficiency in our processes.

Last year’s enacted budget represented a five percent cut from the year before.  That challenges our efforts to deliver results that Congress expects and the American people deserve.

So I urge you to support this budget, which helps us address the most pressing foreign policy priorities for the coming year and lays the foundation for continued strong American leadership in the years ahead.

And with that, I’m happy to address any questions.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-opening-remarks-before-the-house-committee-on-appropriations-subcommittee-on-state-foreign-operations-and-related-programs-on-the-fy25-department-of-state-budget-request/

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