While much of the power to conduct foreign affairs is granted to the president by the U.S. Constitution, Congress can and should still shape foreign policy and play a vital role in ensuring the world remains a safe place and that our citizens are protected from harm.
For example, Congress maintains control over the “purse strings” and funds our national defense and foreign assistance. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand how foreign assistance is used to support American values all over the world. On average, only about one percent of foreign aid is provided as direct budget support to foreign governments. In fact, most aid is given in the form of expert technical advice, training, equipment, vaccines, food, educational exchanges and applied research. Much of the work done by America and its citizens internationally is crucial to lifting developing countries out of disease and poverty, promoting long-term development and building important relationships.
Additionally, through the appropriations process, Congress can help ensure that funding goes to countries to build stability and counter a variety of international threats, such as terrorism, illegal drugs, and infectious disease. Approximately 1.3 percent of the total federal budget is designated for foreign assistance from all federal sources. Aid that promotes global prosperity, democracy and rule of law, economic growth and humanitarian interests reflects American values and global leadership.
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With numerous topics dominating the news cycle this year, I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss an historic event that took place last week related to peace and security in the Middle East. While the area is often known for its unrest, the Trump Administration has never given up on fostering peace and bringing greater stability to the region. Indeed, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have made it a priority to encourage the normalization of nation-to-nation relationships involving Israel, one of our greatest allies and most faithful friends.
The United States recently surpassed more than 100,000 precious lives lost to COVID-19. As we sadly know all too well, along with the staggering human cost, this pandemic has disrupted every corner of American society and life as we know it – wrecking thriving economies, shuttering businesses, killing jobs and threatening livelihoods. While these hard and fast hits seemingly came out of nowhere, the wrath of this invisible enemy could have been quelled and lives protected worldwide had the Communist Chinese Party issued warnings upfront and told the truth about early evidence.