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.
More on Foreign Affairs
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.
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.