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Press Release

Rep. Bera Raises Alarm on Republican Budget Cuts to State Department and USAID, Hampering Ability of U.S. to Outcompete Beijing

  • Foreign aid budget hearing. July 2023

Today, Representative Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, sounded the alarm on proposed Republican funding cuts to the State Department and USAID during a FY2024 budget hearing on July 18.

During the hearing, Ranking Member Bera stated:

“Last week House Appropriations Committee Republicans passed their fiscal year 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations bill with a 15% cut in funding from fiscal year 2023 levels. If the U.S. is going to successfully outcompete Beijing in the Indo-Pacific and around the world, we cannot take a step backward and cut resources from key national security agencies.”

Ranking Member Bera authored the Indo-Pacific Engagement Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen U.S. diplomatic and aid presence in the Indo-Pacific. The legislation, which passed into law in the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), directed the Assistant Secretaries for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department, along with the Assistant Administrator for the Asia Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development, to provide an independent assessment of the resources they need to fulfill the Indo-Pacific Strategy.

In addition, Ranking Member Bera underscored the significance of the first Indo-Pacific Engagement Act report submitted by the Biden Administration to Congress.

“Last week, the Administration submitted the first Indo-Pacific Engagement Act report to Congress, and I’d like to thank EAP and SCA at State, as well as Asia Bureau at USAID for putting together this comprehensive and insightful report. Noting that strategic competition with the PRC is the pacing geopolitical challenge of our era, the report found that $41.3 billion over the next five fiscal years is needed to implement our objectives in the Indo-Pacific, of which $8.1 billion is for diplomatic engagement, $1 billion is for USAID operating expenses, and $32.2 billion is for foreign assistance.

As the PRC increasingly violates the rules-based international order, many countries are looking to the U.S. for support. Robust foreign assistance and diplomatic engagement signals to our allies and partners that the U.S. is a dependable partner in the Indo-Pacific.”

To view Ranking Member Bera’s full remarks at yesterday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, click here.

To view the first Indo-Pacific Engagement Act report submitted by the Biden Administration to Congress, click here.