U.S. Must Be More Selective Where It Sends Foreign Aid
The United States needs to stay engaged in foreign affairs, but it must choose carefully where it spends its dollars
October 11, 2011
It is not a convenient time to be having a recession. While responsible members of Congress attempt to help mitigate our economic turmoil, promote job growth, and tackle a national debt of staggering proportions, the world has kept on changing. For the past 10 months, we have witnessed unprecedented changes throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The peaceful protests that began at the end of last year continue to shake the region to its core. The power structures that have defined the region for decades continue to crumble as protestors take to the streets by the thousands. And although it is not yet clear what the end result will be, there can be no doubt that the Middle East that emerges from the current turmoil will be vastly different from the one we have known for decades.
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There can be no question that the United States not only must stay engaged, but must in fact be more engaged than ever. As the power structures of the Middle East are being torn down and rebuilt, it is critical that we ensure that our vital national interests in the region—including national security—do not suffer. But fiscal solvency is also a vital national concern, and one that responsible lawmakers must attend to. The result is that we must now do more with less. We can neither afford—literally—to spend recklessly nor can we afford to retreat.
As a Member of Congress it is my duty to ensure that when taxpayer dollars are spent, they are spent appropriately. Even more than in the past, we must now scrutinize each and every foreign aid program to ensure that only those most essential to advancing our interests and those of our allies are implemented. Governing is about prioritizing and choosing and that is exactly what my colleagues and I—and the Obama administration—must now do.