Democratic lawmakers propose $12B hike for State
Some Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate are proposing a $12 billion increase to the State Department’s budget for 2022 to outcompete China, fight climate change and prepare against the next pandemic.
Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.), all members of congressional foreign affairs panels, argue there is a need for the increase in funding.
“If this year has taught us anything, it’s that the biggest threats posed to our country really aren’t foreign armies,” Murphy said in a statement. “This is why it’s so mind-boggling that our Defense Department budget continues to increase by tens of billions of dollars each year, while funding for other vital national security agencies has remained flat.”
Congress funded the State Department through 2021 with an estimated $61 billion, an increase of 6.6 percent from the previous year, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.
The lawmakers are proposing increasing the State Department budget to $68.7 billion for 2022, compared to the amount appropriated in 2020, $56.6 billion, according to a budget plan.
The proposal lays out funding for three strategic areas: competing with China on the international stage, which includes rebuilding the State Department; increasing funds for global health and humanitarian aid to prepare against the next pandemic; and climate change.
On climate change, the proposal calls for assigning new investment to the United Nations “Green Climate Fund” to help poorer countries invest in climate solutions while promoting American renewable energy domestically and internationally.
“Today’s most pressing challenges, from the COVID-19 pandemic, to a rising China, to the climate crisis, require aid workers that can take vaccines abroad to keep us all safe from the next pandemic, diplomats that can rally our allies and partners in response to China, and negotiators that can bring the world together to prevent the worst of climate change,” Bera said in a statement.
President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill earmarked $10 billion in international assistance for the State Department and global response to the pandemic.