WASHINGTON, D.C. — Although there are many issues that members of Congress cannot agree on, foreign aid has often been considered a bipartisan issue. When the Trump administration suggested a 32 percent cut in foreign aid, it was quite clear that neither party would support this decision and there would continue to be many senators supporting foreign aid. The following senators, among many others, have expressed their support for foreign aid.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Patrick Leahy is the senior senator from Vermont and belongs to the Democratic party. He is key among the senators supporting foreign aid that would improve the quality of life around the globe. He is one of the Senate’s most notable advocates for humanitarian foreign aid, actively serving in the Department of State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee for many years.
In response to Trump’s attempt to cut foreign aid, the Senator tweeted, “Slashing foreign assistance would be foolhardy, weakening our leadership and emboldening our adversaries.” According to his website, he believes that foreign aid is essential to the United States’ role as an international leader.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
The Florida senator is well known for his run as a presidential candidate for the Republican party. When the Trump administration revealed its interest in cutting foreign aid, Rubio expressed his concern both on Twitter and on the Senate floor, stating that foreign aid is not charity and it is crucial to national security.
He said in the Senate, “We understand what a critical component foreign aid and the international affairs budget is to the national security and economic interests and to our very identity.” Rubio had also previously advocated for transparency in foreign aid.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Chris Murphy is a Democratic senator that has served Connecticut since 2013. Although he is one of many senators supporting foreign aid and preserving the budget allocated to it, he goes a step further and says the United States should do more. Murphy wants to double the foreign aid budget over the next five years, saying that the way to protect U.S. national security is by “making unstable peace stable.”
Senator Todd Young (R-IN)
Todd Young is a Republican representing Indiana and among the senators supporting foreign aid. Young was one of the leaders of a bipartisan task force of senators who advocated against the Trump administration’s effort to cut foreign aid.
Young argues that development projects abroad contribute to national security since they will reduce troops being sent to war. “If we want to send our brave troops to war less often, if we want them to come home sooner, then we shouldn’t starve our development efforts the attention that they need,” he said. “We need to ensure that all available tools are optimized as best as possible and that includes development assistance.”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Jeanne Shaheen is a Democratic senator representing New Hampshire. She led the bipartisan task force advocating against the Trump administration’s cuts to foreign aid along with Senator Young. In 2009, she co-sponsored the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act to reform foreign aid, and in 2016 she supported the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act sponsored by Rubio.
These senators supporting foreign aid are leading voices in the fight against global poverty. Their work across the political spectrum is vital to continuing the U.S.’s role in helping the world’s poor.
– Luz Solano-Flórez