Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
March 2, 2011  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Commends Secretary Clinton's Remarks on U.S. Foreign Aid Budget Priorities  

Washington, D.C.
– U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today commended Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on “National Security and Foreign Policy Priorities in the FY2012 International Affairs Budget” for her remarks on the detrimental effects proposed cuts to U.S. foreign aid in the House Republican budget would have on global health, security and the foreign relations of the United States.

Below are Secretary Clinton’s remarks on this matter delivered at the hearing:  

Well first, let me speak about a lot of the specifics [of the proposed budget cuts]. And you [Senator Kerry] -- you included a number of those in your opening statement, Mr. Chairman. We will be cutting back on our support for global health in particular, support through the PEPFAR project, which was started by President Bush, which has been continued and very strongly supported by President Obama.  

Hundreds of thousands of people will be cut off of their life-sustaining drugs. Others will never have access to them.  We will see a decrease in the number of people who are treated for other diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis.  

We will see, unfortunately, a stop in the outreach for women and children. A woman dies of pregnancy-related complications every minute in the world, and we have made maternal and child health one of our priorities.  

We are certainly backing off from the commitment to food security, the Feed the Future initiative that Senator Lugar referred to. We really worked hard to get the inputs right, because what we had done over the last 20 years was move away from working with farmers in their own countries so they would better produce for themselves.  

And then, the United States would be providing expertise and technology, and certainly we would created healthier societies where our own exports would increase. And instead, what we had been doing, was just providing emergency food relief, which was not teaching anybody how to fish or anybody how to farm.  

And we began to reverse that, and that would be severely impacted, in fact zeroed out in the CR that -- or the budget that was passed. We have also seen a complete dismissal of the work on climate change and energy security, which I think is a grave mistake. 

I'll give you just a quick example. We have a lot of support in the Pacific Ocean region. A lot of those small countries have voted with us in the United Nations.  

They are stalwart American allies. They embrace our values and they believe, contrary to what some might think, that they are sinking. And they have a lot of evidence that they are sinking and that the oceans are rising.  

And all they've asked for us is some recognition, some help with their efforts to be more resilient when it comes to the effects of climate change. We had a small amount of $21 million that we were going to spread across many of these island countries. Obviously that would not be possible, and we are in a competition for influence with China. 

I'll just be -- let's put aside the moral, humanitarian, do-good side of what we believe in, and let's just talk, you know, straight real politique. We are in a competition with China.  

Take Papua, New Guinea, huge energy find, to go to one of Senator Lugar's very strong points. Exxon Mobil is producing it. China is in there every day in every way trying to figure out how it's going to come in behind us, come in under us.  

They're supporting the dictatorial regime that unfortunately is now in charge of Fiji. They have brought all of the leaders of these small Pacific nations to Beijing, wined them and dined them.  

I mean, if anybody thinks that our retreating on these issues is somehow going to be irrelevant to the maintenance of our leadership in a world where we are competing with China, where we are competing with Iran, that is a mistaken notion.  

So, I would strongly support this on humanitarian, moral, values-based grounds that we do the right thing, we get credit for, but I also look at this from a strategic perspective. And it is essential.