News / USA

Kerry: Mandatory Budget Cuts Would Hurt US Foreign Policy

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says mandatory federal budget cuts set for March 1 will undermine America's position in the world, damaging both U.S. foreign policy and private sector investment.

Secretary Kerry says America's "relatively small investment" in foreign policy advances global stability and helps U.S. companies compete abroad.

"Foreign assistance is not a giveaway. It's not charity. It is an investment in a strong America and in a free world. Foreign assistance lifts others up, and then reinforces their willingness to link arms with us in common endeavors," Kerry said.

In his first speech as secretary of state, Kerry told students at the University of Virginia that the price of abandoning global efforts would be exorbitant because others will quickly fill the vacuum left behind.

"Now some may say: not now. Not while we have our budget [problems]. It’s too expensive. But believe me my friends: these challenges will not get easier with time. There is no pause button on the future. We cannot choose when we would like to stop and restart our global responsibility, or simply wait until the calendar says it’s more convenient," Kerry said.

The automatic spending cuts -- or sequester -- set to take effect March 1 are the result of a budget stand-off between President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress. House Speaker John Boehner says it is up to the president to avoid these automatic cuts.

"We're weeks away from the president's sequester and the president laid out no plan to eliminate the sequester and the harmful cuts that will come as a result of it. Republicans have twice passed bills to replace the sequester. It's incumbent upon the president and Senate Democrats to show us their plan to stop the sequester from going into effect," Boehner said.

Johns Hopkins University professor Ruth Wedgwood says automatic spending cuts would be an awkward start to the president's second term.

"Sequestration would be a very, very stupid signal to send abroad. And nobody knows how it would play out," Wedgwood said.

She says U.S. diplomatic and military standing are on the line, especially as defense officials are already scaling back in anticipation of the cuts.

"What it signals to people as to our likely future -- much too close future -- role in the world. If we haven't got the gas money to go the Gulf, that's a very bad signal to send," Wedgwood said.

Confusion about the cuts has led to uncertainty on financial markets. Secretary Kerry says standing up for American jobs and businesses intersects with U.S. leadership on climate change.

"We as a nation must have the foresight and the courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and our grandchildren, and that is an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts, and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate," Kerry said.

Kerry is calling for a "responsible agreement that prevents these senseless cuts," so the United States does not lose out on global opportunities because of politics.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lalabula from: China
February 20, 2013 10:17 PM
Kerry seems moderate ,I hope american's would not irritate other countries

by: ali baba from: new york
February 20, 2013 9:26 PM
you are wrong Mr. Kerry. us assistance has not help the interest of us. we spend one billion /day in Afghanistan and we got 1000 young people killed by road side bomb. we give 6 billion to Pakistan and they hide Osama bin laden and give him safe heaven. we give American airplane fighter to Egypt and god who knows how they are going to use it. we help Libya and the American ambassador was killed . the policy of giving money to bribe generals in foreign country is wrong and it is easy fix. the best strategy is find energy alternative and stop using oil from unstable region. we have to use nuclear energy. Inventing electric car use coal with advance technology to avoid environmental problem.
In Response

by: Darin from: Santiago, Chile
February 21, 2013 7:03 AM
There seems to be some confusion between Foreign Assistance and the US Military. None of the things you mentioned are Foreign Assistance.

Learn more about the good America does for the world here: http://foreignassistance.gov

I suspect many people would agree with the things you mentioned you'd like to see cut, however you're advocating military cuts, not foreign assistance cuts.

by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
February 20, 2013 4:00 PM
Hilary Clinton was so successful because she pursued a decency agenda. That is why the words she used actually meant something to everyone, and why all the world leaders had to take heed of what she said.
In Response

by: Shaggy from: Pittsburgh, PA
February 21, 2013 6:18 AM
@ Rob Swift. Yeah, Hilary was so effective, that is why Pakistan continued to hide Bin Laden. Her "reset" button worked so well with the Russians too. She made peace in Israel... errr ok so maybe she didnt. Hilary was a mediocre Sec of State at best. I wouldn't say she was terrible, but she was not the shinning star of "decency" that you want to make her out to be.

by: NVO from: USA
February 20, 2013 1:37 PM
The so called "policy" is to become a New World Order, a One World Government, a One World Religion, MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT THAT. The Regimes agenda is for YOU to become RELIANT on them. The New World Order WILL control EVERY ASPECT of YOUR life. Don't be deceived by them.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs