The US House of Representatives accepted an amendment to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 on Thursday to eliminate all funding for the US Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent government-funded institution to analyze and prevent international conflict.
“I am very pleased my amendment to end federal funding for the US Institute of Peace was voted on and accepted by my colleagues in the House,” Rep. Chip Cravaack (D-MN), one of the co-sponsors of the amendment, said. “If signed into law, this amendment will save the taxpayers $42 million this year. Washington has been spending beyond its means for years. We must look for places to make cuts so we are not piling mountains of debt on future generations.”
The amendment was also co-sponsored by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). It was accepted by a 268 to 163 vote.
USIP was established by Congress in 1984 to provide “analysis, training and tools that help to prevent, manage and end violent international conflicts, promote stability and professionalize the field of peacebuilding.” The institute was responsible for the Iraq Study Group Report published in 2006 that criticized the US strategy in Iraq.
Rep. Cravaack said USIP was an “entirely redundant” institution, adding that its mission could be “accomplished by multiple other departments.”
“It is a sad day when the House votes to eliminate one of the few programs in the budget which is dedicated to conflict prevention and non-violence, while at the same time, enabling another $158 billion in the same budget for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said. “We have spent $1.1 trillion for war in the past decade, and in striking funding for USIP, Congress has demonstrated that it is on the war path. Everything in the path of war had better take careful notice.”
“The two wars will consume $42.7 million in 142 minutes if $158 billion can finance the wars for an entire year,” the congressman added.
“How ironic, even as our nation is at war in Afghanistan and shifting from war to peace in Iraq, that anyone in Congress could decide that now is the right time to undermine a proven, innovative congressional institution on the frontlines — helping US men and women in uniform, and on the civilian side, to save lives,” USIP President Richard Solomon wrote at Politico Thursday.
“USIP’s budget is miniscule—one tenth of 1 percent of the State Department budget — not even enough to cover 40 soldiers in Afghanistan for a year,” he continued. “Yet in the post-Cold War world, its influence has grown dramatically, as its programs have helped the country adjust to a new and challenging international environment.”