Ex-Officials Hit Foreign Aid Cuts; Powell, Albright Cite Jeopardy to National Security

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Byline: Katie Stuhldreher, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Former Secretaries of State Colin L. Powell and Madeleine K. Albright warned yesterday that proposed funding cuts for international programs could jeopardize national security.

"I have been arguing this case for 30 years," Mrs. Albright said, speaking at a Washington forum hosted by the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign (USGLC). "The question has always been how to sell this. I think we need to change the name from 'foreign aid' to 'national security support,' because when people hear 'national security,' they immediately salute and with good reason."

President Bush requested $35.11 billion up from $31.57 billion enacted last year to fund U.S. international affairs in fiscal 2007, accounting for 1.2 percent of total government spending.

But the House Appropriations Committee recently cut Mr. Bush's wish list by nearly $3 billion, to $32.28 billion.

The international affairs budget funds a variety of initiatives, including poverty alleviation, HIV/AIDS programs, land mine removal in former conflict areas, and diplomacy, according to USGLC.

Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently announced his plan for cuts as well, which would leave the Senate-approved foreign affairs budget at $32.66 billion.

"This is not the place to cut. You look at the places where Congress is making increases, and you say, 'What are they thinking?'" Mr. Powell said, addressing an auditorium of businessmen and representatives from nongovernmental organizations.

Mr. Powell urged them to "march up to the Hill" to express their concerns over the proposed cuts.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the foreign affairs budget tomorrow. …