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, about one percent of foreign aid is provided as direct budget support (cash) to foreign governments. The remainder of 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 poverty and promoting long-term development.
Additionally, through the appropriations process, Congress can help ensure that funding goes to countries to build stability and counter international threats. 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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Clearly, the threat posed by ISIS/ISIL in the Middle East isn’t diminishing and the need to do something to protect the United States and our friends abroad is more urgent than ever. Considering the escalating conflict in the area occupied by the terrorist group, attacks against our allies and direct threats surfacing in America, it is past time for thoughtful debate to take place, a clear strategy to be agreed upon and decisive action to be taken to destroy this barbaric enemy.
Long before the controversial Iran nuclear agreement was set in motion by the Obama Administration, Republicans voiced their strong opposition to engaging and negotiating with the terrorist regime. Unfortunately, despite concerns from both lawmakers and many American citizens, President Obama chose to risk our nation’s security for an agreement that will undoubtedly increase volatility in the Middle East and ultimately pave the way for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. To call the Administration’s performance “disappointing” would be an understatement.
In response to the escalating conflict in the Middle East, thousands of refugees have fled the violence, terrorism and oppression directed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS). Without question, this flood of refugees into Europe and their potential resettlement into the United States calls for compassion, but our handling of the crisis also demands that we exercise serious caution.
Tulsa World - Congressman Tom Cole
Fortune - Steven T. Dennis
Paul Ryan’s on a roll. The new House speaker set Democrats back on their heels this week with a proposal to hit the pause button on the U.S. acceptance of Syrian refugees, even as he forcefully put down anti-Muslim sentiment on his party’s right flank.
The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel
Echoing the concerns of many Republican officeholders, Sen. Jim Inhofe said Monday that no more Syrian refugees should be allowed into the United States until Congress has reviewed the process for screening them.
“Accepting refugees is an important and historical practice of our nation, but the Syrian refugee situation is atypical due to ISIS's attempts to exploit the crisis and concerns over the validity of Syrian passports,” said Inhofe, R-Tulsa.