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Coalition including AIPAC slams GOP proposed cuts

JTA

February 9, 2011 | 2:59 pm

Proposed Republican cuts to foreign assistance endanger national security, according to a foreign policy umbrella that includes AIPAC among its members.

“These cuts are of particular concern as the International Affairs Budget provides extensive counter-terrorism and counter-Insurgency assistance to countries of high-priority national security, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan,” said the statement Wednesday from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. “The proposed cut would gut our embassies and consulates, and hurt our commitment to key allies in the Middle East.”

The coalition said that its analysis revealed cuts of 13 percent, and not of 4 percent as Republicans claimed in their release this week of proposed cuts to the budget.

The proposed cuts are to last year’s budget; President Obama has yet to release this year’s fiscal plan.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition includes the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as a member; the pro-Israel group played a major role in the coalition’s founding in 1995.

AIPAC has been circumspect in its pronouncements on proposed GOP cuts to foreign assistance, but its officials have relayed their concerns privately to the party’s leaders. AIPAC sees foreign assistance as a package that benefits the U.S.-Israel alliance, and opposes treating aid to Israel as a separate item.

Separately, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the senior Democrat on the foreign operations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, called on Republicans to work more closely with Democrats in shaping foreign aid cuts.

“It would be senseless to let our response to a fiscal challenge create a national security crisis,” Lowey, who is close to AIPAC, said in an Op-Ed appearing in Wednesday’s Politico. “Now we must sit side by side, not as a gracious gesture, but to do the difficult job of balancing our long-term economic prosperity with security imperatives we can’t afford to neglect.”

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