05.20.09

Statement At Hearing On Fiscal Year 2010 State Department Budget Request

Welcome Madam Secretary.  We know how busy you are and appreciate you being here.  We also have amendments to the FY 2009 supplemental appropriations bill on the Senate floor today, so I am not going to talk long.  We will hear your testimony and place your written statement in the record, to leave plenty of time for questions.

I do want to say how pleased and proud we are that you are representing the United States as Secretary of State.  It is reassuring to have someone with your stature, intellect, and experience as the top American diplomat, who can hold your own with any foreign head of state.

It is also an opportunity.  The State Department has suffered under leadership lacking in vision and managerial know-how.  Political ideology and bullying replaced common sense and the judgment of career foreign service officers.  We have wasted valuable time and resources, and our image has suffered badly from misguided policies while other countries, particularly China, have filled the vacuum.

And we have learned that military force is usually not the best option, and it is certainly far more costly.

We want to see the State Department return to its rightful, dominant role, as it was under former great secretaries like George Marshall and Dean Acheson.

The manner in which we conduct diplomacy over the next five to ten years will determine whether the United States remains a world leader as it has been for the past century.   

The President has set a new course, replacing arrogance with vision and the courage to take risks, including by searching for common ground with those we disagree with.  We are powerful enough, and our values are resilient enough, to do that.

In this time of great fiscal difficulties your FY 2010 budget request is ambitious.  But I believe it reflects the magnitude of the challenges we face.  I urge you to devote as much time as possible to fighting for it in the coming weeks.

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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693