Lowey statement at hearing on Department of Treasury international programs 2018 budget request
Secretary Mnuchin, I join Chairman Rogers in welcoming you here today.
International financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, play a critical role in reducing global poverty and are essential to the success and sustainability of U.S. global development efforts. When managed correctly, these institutions help low-income countries create strong economies, encouraging nations to become more self-reliant and contribute to the global marketplace. These institutions have proven their worth over decades, rebuilding Europe after World War II, spurring economic growth in dozens of countries, and bringing electricity to millions of people.
Through U.S. leadership in these institutions, our country has steered the international development agenda. But the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget would undermine our influence by slashing contributions to international financial institutions by 35%, in some cases ending all funding and in other cases falling far short of previous U.S. commitments. If the Administration is focused on efficient spending of taxpayer dollars overseas, drastic cuts to institutions that maximize our resources, aid in the sustainability of development programs, and create new markets do not make sense.
A diminished U.S. role at international financial institutions would provide an opportunity for other countries to fill the space, reducing our ability to influence the international development agenda and advance American values and national security priorities. Sadly, the Administration’s budget makes clear the President thinks putting America first means taking a major step back from the international stage, which is a catastrophic formula for the economic and security well-being of the United States.
We saw this misguided approach just two weeks ago with the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. This decision will have catastrophic consequences for our nation, as would the Administration’s proposal to eliminate all funding for climate programs, especially the Green Climate Fund. This initiative is not only critical in the fight against climate change in developing countries, it is instrumental in creating U.S. jobs and moving forward U.S. national security interests. Failure to meet our previous commitments to the Fund further risks international U.S. leadership at a time when it is needed most.
Mr. Secretary, the Treasury Department leads the world in disrupting terrorist financing networks and enforcing sanctions against some of the world’s most dangerous countries, such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea. With increased aggression from each of these three countries, your department’s work is critical. Today, I hope you will provide details regarding new sanctions you mentioned during your testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee last month.
In addition, I look forward to discussing Russia, particularly the impact existing U.S. and EU sanctions are having on Putin and whether the threat of new sanctions would impact Russia’s activities in the Ukraine and Syria.
Finally, I hope you will address the Administration’s plans for additional sanctions to address Iran’s continued financial support of terrorism, human rights abuses, export of weapons, and ballistic missile testing.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us today. I look forward to your testimony.