Mark Sanford on Foreign Policy
Republican SC Governor; previously Representative (SC-1)
Freezing State Department funding at 1997 levels ($6.3 billion each year), as opposed to increasing it by $265 million for each of the next two years was a no-brainer to me. Every day families and businesses are asked to do more with less--was it too much to ask for the State Department to manage with what they already had?
This amendment was consistent with testimony given to the international relations committee suggesting that if we merged the two cold war programs--the US Information Agency and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency--we would see over $1 billion in savings. This bill did indeed fold the two programs into the State Department. But instead of saving $1 billion, spending at the State Department was set to rise by $265 million!
OnTheIssues.org explanation: The US government has forbidden US citizens from traveling to Cuba since the 1960s. Try booking a trip from Mexico City to Havana on travelocity.com (or any travel website) and it says, "Due to a U.S. government travel restriction we are unable to book this reservation." You can, however, purchase that same ticket while in Mexico City, or anywhere else in the world. Sanford's bill attempts to undo this long-standing situation.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
EXCERPTS FROM BILL:
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME: Referred to the House Committee on the Western Hemisphere; never called for a House vote.
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