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Call your Senators at 202-224-3121 and Urge them to Save the USIP
This is an Urgent Action - The Senate will vote this week or next!
Recently, the US House voted to cut all of the United States Institute of Peace’s funding. All of it!
This is a stunning development that could prove to be a serious setback for the work of peacebuilding around the world and a blow to the growing movement we've been seeing for peacebuilding investment in our government.
The United States Institute of Peace Act, passed by the Congress and signed into law in 1984, established the Institute as a publicly funded national institution. Congressional leaders spearheading the charge to eliminate USIP wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that USIP is a “waste of taxpayer money.”
The funding in question, $42 million, is change by Federal Government standards. $42 million Is one tenth of one percent of the State Department budget, not even enough funds to support 40 troops in Afghanistan for a year, nor to pay for three hours of the Afghanistan War. Yet this small investment in USIP is one of the smartest investments the US government can make. As one of the only institutions in Federal government working to support peacebuilding, the Institute desperately needs our support.
Iraq would have further spiraled out of control had USIP not existed.
When the situation on the ground in Iraq seemed it could not get any worse, our country turned to USIP for answers. USIP President Richard Solomon writes: “When Congress needed a forward-looking bipartisan commission to evaluate U.S. options in Iraq, they turned to USIP. Under the co-chairmanship of former Secretary of State James A. Baker and Rep. Lee Hamilton, we gathered input from many organizations to produce what became a widely recognized guide to dealing with Iraq: The Iraq Study Group.”
USIP has also played a critical role in Afghanistan. According to General David Petraeus: “USIP’s work on the informal justice system has been invaluable as we work toward improving rule of law at the provincial level. Their plans for reconciliation efforts at the community level on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border are likewise a potential key to success in the enormous challenges we face.”
USIP has a proven track-record as the pioneering US institute advancing peacebuilding on our behalf, a bright light emanating from our nation throughout some of the darkest corners on the planet. USIP’s budget ought not to be cut. It ought to increased!
Prevention and nonviolent intervention pay off. There is a temptation, and it far too often turns out to be the reality, that we cut prevention and intervention programs first when budgets get tight. That's true from the community level all the way up to national - and it's exactly the opposite of what we should do, both from a fiscal and moral perspective. This is an issue we must stand behind. We cannot allow the USIP to slip away. Please work with us. Take action today!