Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representative
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875
May 10, 2001

Hyde Urges Support for
State Department Budget Bill

...So that we may get on with the great task of preparing our foreign policy for the new century"


(WASHINGTON) - Statement delivered today by U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, during debate in the House of Representatives on the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, H.R. 1646:

"Standing at the edge of a new century, it is appropriate to pause and wonder what lies ahead for us, our descendents, and our country. For the United States, the century just past was one of unprecedented American triumph. So great was our prominence, so expansive our fortune, that it has been called "the American Century."

"For many others around the world, however, the experience of that same period of time was quite different. Universally hailed at its beginning as an era of peace and progress, the 20th Century proved to be the bloodiest and most savage in human history. Tens of millions perished; scores of cities were obliterated, continents were more thoroughly ravaged by modern warfare than any long-ago barbarian could have dreamed. In our present-day complacency, it is easy to forget how razor-thin were the margins by which our civilization survived, how close the enemies of the West came to winning.

"So, although it is right for us to be hopeful about the next century, we would do well to be mindful of these different experiences and to remember that we are guaranteed nothing.

"But neither are we at the mercy of chance. In large part, our fate will be determined by our own actions, both wise and foolish. Although we might wish by some simple strategem to guarantee our success and safety, easy answers promise only to lull us into a deadly sleep. The only certain advantage we can possess in meeting the future is to steel ourselves as best we can to meet its inevitable surprises. As the saying goes, fortune favors the well-prepared.

"If the United States were to advance confidently into the future, we require a sober foreign policy that rests upon a solid foundation, one whose prescriptions are rooted in reality. On that score, there is much to be done. One area in particular that I intend to emphasize is the need to shift our policies away from an excessive focus on short-term problems and recast them toward the achievement of long-term goals. But that is a different task than that which engages us here today. First, we must start with laying a strong foundation. That process begins with this bill. -MORE-

"The President’s budget request for the main State Department operating accounts identifies new priorities which support the U.S. State Department and its foreign policy platform. Notably the budget increases focus on the Administration of Foreign Affairs accounts which reflect a 19 percent increase over the current fiscal year. I note that the accounts covered in this bill are funded at or above the President’s request.

"Among the bill’s principal features:

"The bill authorizes funds requested by the Bush Administration to enhance embassy security, undertake reform of workplace rules, and make long-overdue improvements to the Department’s less-than-state-of-the-art computer systems.

"It clears the way for the transfer and sale of the four Kidd-class destroyers to Taiwan announced late last month by President Bush, a decision hailed by members of both parties. The bill also designates Taiwan as the equivalent of a "non-NATO" ally, a designation which, among other things, permits it to purchase surplus U.S. military equipment.

"It creates a special envoy post for Sudan to work for a peaceful settlement of a conflict that has been marked by enormous human rights abuses, persecution of Christian and other minorities, and the deaths of an estimated four million people.

"It increases funding for activities of the broadcast services of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Voice of America, Radio Marti, and Radio Free Asia to nations, including Russia, Cuba, China, North Korea, and Vietnam, whose government-run and controlled media routinely suppress the democratic aspirations of their people.

"It significantly reduces the U.S. share of dues paid annually to the United Nations. Our assessed rate for the U.N. regular budget is cut from 25 percent to 22 percent, while the U.S. share of peacekeeping operations will drop from about 32 percent to 28 percent, effective January 1, 2001. Further reductions in peacekeeping will take place on a sliding scale, reaching about 27.5 percent in July of this year, and falling further to near 25 percent by 2006. As part of the agreement to reduce the percentage of the U.N. budget paid by the United States, the United States is obliged to pay an arrearage of $582 million, primarily for peacekeeping operations. I should note that these latter funds were appropriated last year.

"It includes a provision from the Contract with America which amends the U.N. Participation Act of 1945 to ensure that no agreement deploying U.S. troops is effective without the approval of Congress. In sum, the bill provides ample safeguards that the U.N. and its specialized agencies will stay on their present course of management, budget and personnel reforms.

"These are some of the key aspects of this bill. Let me conclude by emphasizing one in particular, namely that of security. The most important concerns the security of our people and diplomatic facilities around the world. The State Department states that last year alone there were over 50 "significant incidents" involving violence or intrusion at our diplomatic facilities. As the technologies of destruction available to the world’s terrorists continue to grow, we cannot stand idly by, waiting for our self-declared enemies to finalize preparations for their next attack, which is certain to happen somewhere. The men and women of the Department of State and other agencies serving their country far away from home in difficult and often dangerous conditions deserve the fullest protection we can provide them and their families. We owe them at least that and much more.

"For that reason, as well as the many others I have laid before you, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1646 so that we may get on with the great task of preparing our foreign policy for the new century."