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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Over the weekend, the world was shaken by a series of devastating terrorist attacks that claimed dozens of innocent lives in Paris. Reportedly carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS), the senseless attacks demonstrate that these terrorists are becoming bolder and more violent by the day, intending to terrorize and harm all of humanity.
The Hill - Cristina Marcos
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is urging newly minted Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to schedule a vote on authorizing U.S. troops to fight Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.
Thirty-five House members — including liberals, GOP leadership allies and members of the conservative Freedom Caucus — banded together in a Friday letter to Ryan asking for a vote.
Washington Post - Greg Jaffe
A bipartisan group of 35 House lawmakers is pressing new House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to move forward with a long-stalled effort to provide the White House with specific authority to fight the wars in Iraq and Syria.
More than three years after our nation learned about the tragedy at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, there are still unanswered questions about what happened there and what could have prevented the murder of four Americans on the twelfth anniversary of September 11. Since that terrible day that claimed the lives of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, we have sought to find out the truth about Benghazi.
Over the last few weeks in town hall meetings and other visits across the Fourth District, I’ve heard my constituents voice their concerns about a variety of issues. But by far, the common issue that troubles the vast majority is the proposed nuclear deal negotiated with Iran by the Obama Administration. Like many of my constituents, I am disturbed by what I’ve heard, seen and learned about the agreement. With a vote expected in Congress next month, I remain strongly opposed to approving the deal.
Following two years of negotiations that have included missed and extended deadlines, the P5+1 announced this month that a deal with Iran has been reached regarding its nuclear program. This deal comes at the insistence of the legacy-starved Obama Administration that has already taken dangerous missteps in its foreign policy. I remain very concerned about the concessions made to Iran in the deal and the implications for the safety and security of America and our allies, including our greatest friend in the region: Israel.