Joint Statement on the House Diplomacy Caucus

December 12, 2019

Joint Statement on the House Diplomacy Caucus

Washington, DC – Foreign Policy for America and the McCain Institute welcome the announcement of the bipartisan House Diplomacy Caucus. We commend Representatives David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), and Ann Wagner (R-MO) for their leadership and we look forward to supporting the work they will do through this vital forum.

Yesterday, Foreign Policy for America and the McCain Institute hosted a breakfast in honor of the announcement of the Caucus and invited former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, to address members of the Caucus. She welcomed the formation of the Caucus and spoke about the importance of a strong Congressional relationship with the State Department.

“Yesterday, I was delighted to meet with leaders of the new bipartisan House Diplomacy Caucus,” said Secretary Albright. “This is a critical moment to support America’s diplomats and highlight the essential role diplomacy plays in our national security. Thanks to Foreign Policy for America and the McCain Institute for hosting us. I want especially to thank the four co-chairs — Representatives Cicilline, Fitzpatrick, Bera, and Wagner for their leadership of this important effort.”

The mission of the House Diplomacy Caucus is to: “bring together Members of Congress committed to strengthening American diplomacy. Caucus members will work together to restore diplomacy as our foreign policy tool of first resort, strengthen our alliances, explore concrete ways to help the State Department recruit and retain the best possible workforce, and modernize to meet new challenges.”

American diplomats play a critical role in promoting our nation’s goals and interests in an increasingly dangerous world. Around the globe, they protect U.S. citizens, promote American businesses, confront our adversaries, and rally allies to our side. They work to prevent and end wars, forge partnerships to confront global challenges, and represent our values and aspirations to the world. Alongside the brave men and women serving in our armed forces, their work is essential for securing our interests.

“I think there’s a hunger right now to push past some of the headlines and think in concrete terms about the future of American diplomacy,” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “This is the first House caucus focused entirely on advancing the work of diplomacy and we’re so proud to support these Members in this endeavor.”

Despite calls to increase investment in diplomacy, the State Department and USAID continue to operate with a budget that falls far short of what is needed to meet our modern challenges. Just last week, we saw news that China has surpassed the U.S. as the country with the largest diplomatic footprint around the world. Polling shows that Americans support strong diplomatic engagement around the world. 7 out of 10 Americans believe it is best for the U.S.’ future to play an active role in world affairs, and 61% believe the benefits of active engagement in the world outweigh the costs. Multilateral institutions and alliances like NATO, which share burdens among our allies, also maintain strong public support. But reflecting the country’s weariness after 18 years of war, far more Americans believe today that intervening militarily in other countries makes the U.S. less safe (46%) rather than more (27%).

“Supporting American diplomatic leadership is a nonpartisan issue. The men and women who serve in the State Department and USAID are on the frontlines promoting American values and ensuring our national security,” said Paul Fagan, Director of the Human Rights and Democracy Program at the McCain Institute. “The launch of the Diplomacy Caucus is an exciting endeavor and the McCain Institute welcomes its formation.”

Statements of support

“This Congressional initiative to create a bipartisan Diplomacy Caucus is a very welcome step forward for all who believe in the future of the State Department and the U.S. Foreign Service,” said Ambassador Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. “Given the daunting challenges our country is facing around the world, we need to strengthen budgetary and institutional support for our career diplomats overseas and at the State Department in Washington. Congratulations to Representatives David N. Cicilline, Ami Bera, Brian Fitzpatrick and Ann Wagner as well as to Foreign Policy for America and the McCain Institute.”

“The new Diplomacy Caucus comes at just the right time,” said Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor of International Affairs for the city of Los Angeles and former U.S. Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “Every day, our country’s skilled diplomats and national security professionals solve problems and pursue opportunities that are essential to the well-being and safety of Americans. With few resources, they help attract job-creating investment to America, free political prisoners, keep the peace, rescue stranded Americans, and promote American values. Their numbers and resources are depleted, and we must invest in them now so America can continue to lead on the global stage.”

“I thank Representatives David N. Cicilline, Brian Fitzpatrick, Ami Bera and Ann Wagner for their groundbreaking leadership as Co-Chairs of the new House Diplomacy Caucus,” said Ambassador Marc Grossman, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. “America’s diplomats work hard every day to promote and protect U.S. interests and values around the world. Their commitment to our nation will now be even stronger knowing they have the support of the Diplomacy Caucus. I also congratulate Foreign Policy for America, a group dedicated to increasing bi-partisan support for the State Department and American diplomacy, for their efforts to support this exciting new caucus.”

“I’m so pleased to see bipartisan support for the first caucus focused entirely on diplomacy and a strong State Department,” said Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program at Georgetown University, former Ambassador to Bulgaria, and former Director of the Foreign Service Institute. “I know many current and former diplomats will welcome the opportunity to share their experiences with Members of Congress, leading to an open dialogue when it comes to strengthening and modernizing the State Department. Representatives Cicilline, Fitzpatrick, Bera, and Wagner should be commended for their efforts here and I look forward to seeing how Foreign Policy for America can further complement the work of the Caucus and Congress.”

“The military alone cannot achieve our national security objectives,” said Michèle Flournoy, Co-founder and Managing Partner of West Exec Advisors and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. “Now more than ever, we need to invest in strengthening the State Department and support the extraordinary diplomats serving our country overseas. I look forward to seeing the work of this important Caucus, and I applaud Congressman Cicilline, Congresswoman Wagner, Congressman Bera, and Congressman Fitzpatrick on their leadership.”

“Congratulations to Representatives Bera, Cicilline, Fitzpatrick, and Wagner on the launch of the House Diplomacy Caucus,” said Uzra Zeya, President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. “Their leadership shows a growing bipartisan commitment to peaceful prevention and smart power tools to make America safer, stronger, and more prosperous. Their vital cooperation across the aisle not only defies narratives of growing polarization in Washington, it is imperative to the more just and peaceful world we all seek.”