Madam Chair, thank you for yielding.
First, I want to thank Chairwoman Lee and Ranking Member Rogers for their work on the fiscal year 2023 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
I also want to thank the committee staff. All of them understand the importance of these issues for our country and the entire world.
I previously served as chair of this subcommittee and know this bill funds many programs that have bipartisan support – the most important being the funding for Israel. I am pleased to see that Chairwoman Lee has included 3.3 billion dollars for Israel’s security.
Even though we agree on some spending priorities in the bill, the 15 percent funding increase overall is far too high and is based on a funding level that passed the House without support from Republicans. At a time of record-high national debt and soaring inflation, we should be reducing spending where we can.
In addition to my concerns about spending, there are very serious policy issues with this bill that will prevent Members on our side of the aisle from supporting it.
Once again, there are alarming changes to provisions carried for decades that protect life. For example, this bill removes language prohibiting foreign aid from being used to pay for abortions.
The bill also includes a permanent repeal of the Mexico City Policy and makes other controversial changes.
As I made very clear last year, moving forward in this way risks the bipartisan support that global health programs have had for many years.
The bill also includes too many conditions on aid to our key partners around the world. As Russia wages war in Ukraine and China continues its aggressive actions, we should focus on making our partnerships stronger, not weaker. I am concerned that more conditions will push our partners away.
Finally, the bill drops long-standing language on two of the most controversial international organizations – the United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. We must not walk away from our commitment to ensure oversight and demand accountability for the bias against Israel at the United Nations.
These are just a few examples of places where language carried in previous bills must be retained, and controversial policies that were added must be dropped. With that framework in place, we will work to reach agreement on funding, so this bill can get signed into law.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I yield back.
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