Paul Ryan on Foreign Affairs

Foreign Policy/Defense

Ryan does not believe diplomacy and development are part of the national security toolkit, because his proposal would see the international affairs account slashed from $47.8 billion in fiscal 2012 to $43.1 billion in fiscal 2013, $40.1 billion in fiscal 2014, $38.3 billion in fiscal 2015, and $38.1 billion in fiscal 2016. The State Department and USAID wouldn’t see their budget get back to current levels until after 2022 if Ryan were to have his way

The National Defense part of the budget would rise from $561 billion to $603 billion over the same time frame

In his path to prosperity budget proposal, Ryan rejects “proposals to make thoughtless across-the-board cuts in funding for national defense”. His proposed budget “preserves necessary defense spending to protect vital national interests today and ensures future real growth in defense spending to modernize the armed forces for the challenges of tomorrow”

Here are some highlights from the Concurrent Resolution for the Path to Prosperity Budget for FY 2013

National Defense:

The first job of the Federal Government is securing the safety and liberty of its citizens at home and abroad”
National Defense includes funds to compensate, train, maintain, and equip the military forces of the United States

The resolution calls for $562.2 billion in budget authority and $621.5 billion in outlays in fiscal year 2013. This resolution also protects the defense budget from the nearly $1 trillion in indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts that would result from the planned sequester under section 302 of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

A robust national defense requires a substantial commitment of national resources, and Congress and the administration must remain vigilant to ensure the national defense program is executed efficiently and accountably.

Fully Funded Military Modernization:

By providing for real budget growth in future years, this budget resolution ensure that the men and women of the armed forces will have the resources needed to procure the equipment and capabilities that will be essential to protecting American interests abroad. High priorities include ensuring adequate funding for the modernization of US nuclear weapons, forces, and supporting infrastructure in accord with the President’s commitments made at the time of the ratification of the New START treaty; and restoring needed funding to the shipbuilding and naval aircraft accounts to ensure the full potency of US carrier strike groups

Reject cost-shifting
This budget rejects this shell game which would otherwise result in the delayed fielding of needed military capabilities; increased costs for major procurement programs; and an unwise and precipitous reduction in the size of the armed forces

Air National Guard
The Committee takes a continuing interest in ensuring that precipitous defense spending reductions do not jeopardize the nation’s security

International Affairs:
Over the past 10 years, the international affairs budget has more than doubled, increasing by 135 percent.
For the fiscal year 2013, the resolution proposes $43.128 billion in total budget authority and $46.999 billion in outlays.

Consolidate USAID’s Development Assistance:
Investing in foreign aid and helping other nations sie towards prosperity keeps the United States safe and strengthens the economy by establishing new trading partners and markets. However, development assistance is only worthwhile if it produces results for aid recipients. America’s experience with having two development assistance program (Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and USAID’s Development Assistance program) has shown that MCC’s model better reflects this principle when compared to DA.
USAID claims to be moving toward adoption of more accountable policy standards, country ownership, and timetables, but success remains elusive.

Eliminate Funding for Peripheral Foreign Affairs Institutions:
The US funds multiple independent agencies including the Inter-American Foundation, the African Development Foundation, the East-West Center, the Asia Foundation, and the Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue. These institutions all engage in programming that is redundant of the State Department and USAID activities.

Eliminate Contributions to Clean Technology Fund and Strategic Climate Fund
At a time when fiscal restraint is necessary, expanding US international assistance into new areas is not financially wise. This budget recommends the elimination of both programs, reserving US foreign assistance for core foreign policy interests

Eliminate Feed the Future
Feed the Future aims to end global food insecurity through investments in nutrition and agriculture abroad. The US Government’s fiscal condition does not permit the expansion of US foreign assistance initiatives. This budget reflects a need to consolidate our food aid programs in order to eliminate associated costs with mission redundancy

Reduce funding for USAID’s International Disaster Assistance
The International Disaster Assistance account prepares for and mitigates emergencies overseas by providing humanitarian assistance to individuals affected by disasters and conflict. It is time to reassess funding for the IDA account and adjust funding levels to be more reflective of historical disaster trends

Energy Policy/Climate Change

Climate change and energy policy have seemed to take a back burner during this 2012 presidential election season. But with much of the United States in a drought and many cities experiencing record heat, the candidate’s policies on climate change should be made a part of the campaign dialogue. Mitt Romney has not said much on the issue of climate change except for his belief that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.” 


The appointment of Paul Ryan as Romney’s running mate should make conservationists concerned as his policy record on environmentalism and climate change is abysmal. Paul Ryan received a 3% voter rating from the League of Conservation Voters for the 1st Session of the 112th Congress – which is basically as low as you can get.

Ryan’s voting record demonstrates his virulent denial of climate science. Paul Ryan has argued that snow invalidates global warming policy, stating in his 2009 op-ed that “unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow”.  He has stated that climatologists “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change” and has supported legislation that would prevent the limitation of green house gases and block the US Department of Agriculture from preparing for climate disasters.

Here is a sample of his voting record:

Paul Ryan voted to Eliminate EPA limits on Greenhouse Pollution. He voted in favor of H.R. 910 (4/07/11) to block the US Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas pollution. According to the League of Conservation Voters, this bill would “permanently block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act” and “undermine fuel economy standards. This harmful bill would jeopardize public health and the environment, and increase the nation’s dangerous dependence on oil.

Paul Ryan voted to block the USDA from preparing for climate change. He voted in favor of the Scalise Amendment to the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill(6/16/11), to bar the US Department of Agriculture from implementing its Climate Protection Plan.  As stated by the League of Conservation Voters, voting “yes” to this amendment was anti-environment. The League states, “Our nation’s food sources and forests are threatened by the increased severity and variability of climate and weather-related events.  The Agriculture Department is working with farmers, the agriculture industry, and forest managers to prepare for these threats and to develop better farming and forestry practices to help reduce the negative impacts of climate change.”

Paul Ryan voted for Keystone XL Pipeline. Ryan voted to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (7/26/11). Representative Lee Terry (R-NE) sponsoredH.R. 1938, the misnamed North American-Made Energy Security Act, to rush a decision on whether to grant a presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline across six states in order to carry tar sands—the dirtiest oil on the planet—from Canada’s boreal forest to an international shipping port in Texas.  The League of Conservation Voters states that “this pipeline would threaten the environment with far more global warming pollution than conventional crude oil and jeopardize surrounding communities, ecosystems, and watersheds.”

Paul Ryan voted against the Energy Efficiency Loan H.R. 4785. This bill (which ultimately passed) aimed to amend the miscellaneous rural development provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to make loans to certain entities that will use the funds to make loans to consumers to implement energy efficiency measures involving structural improvements and investments in cost-effective, commercial off-the-shelf technologies to reduce home energy use. Journalist Deena Shanker, responded to these votes, stating that the fact “that Ryan would oppose cutting tax incentives for oil companies in order to help those working in renewable shows how his support for Americans and their businesses is reserved only for those exploiting the environment”

Paul Ryan budget kept big oil subsides and slashed clean energy investment. Ryan’s FY 2013 Budget Resolution retained a decades’ worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while slashing funding for investments in clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization, along with other energy programs. The plan called for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone.

In addition to his opposition to meaningful action to reduce global warming pollution, Paul Ryan’s budget called for “drastic cuts in federal spending on energy research and development and for the outright elimination of subsidies and tax breaks for wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies.”

In order to solve the very real climate crisis that the world is facing, we need political leadership that recognizes the need for action and will fight for policies that move us toward a clean energy economy.

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