Every knows (unless you live in a box with no holes) that the President’s first budget is out and about and being batted around Congress like a cat toy. For us folks pursuing international careers and interested in international issues, the international affairs budget (known in DC-parlance as the 150 Account) is probably what we care about most when it comes to the fun that is the federal budget. Congressional budget committees are threatening to slash anywhere from $4-6 billion off of Obama’s international affairs budget request. Needless to say, this is not awesome for our type of programs.
So take a second and write your senators asking for their support of a full and robust FY 2010 international affairs budget. Using the Alliance’s fancy technology and template letter, it’ll take less than a minute, seriously. Type in your zip code and your name and hit send. Boom. Difference made.
For those interested in the gory details of budget procedure, I give them to you in their annotated glory after the jump.
Last week, the Budget Committees cut the President’s FY10 International Affairs Budget request by $5.3 billion in the House and $4.0 billion in the Senate. Because House rules only allow for substitute budgets and no amendments, we must focus our efforts in the Senate where we can make a real difference.
Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) will be offering an amendment to restore funding for the International Affairs Budget to the request level of $53.8 billion. We must do all we can to gain support for the Kerry-Lugar amendment. It is critically important that you contact your Senators and urge them to:
- Co-sponsor the Kerry-Lugar Amendment;
- Oppose any further cutting amendments; and
- Speak out in support of the Kerry-Lugar Amendment and the importance of the International Affairs Budget.
Senators need to know they have support for the International Affairs Budget. Anything less than the request level of $53.8 billion will greatly hamper the Administration’s efforts to implement a “smart power” strategy to elevate diplomacy and international exchange programs in U.S. global engagement.