Skip to content

Ranking Member Risch Opening Statement at Hearing on FY25 State Department Budget Request

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today gave the following opening remarks at a full committee hearing on American diplomacy and global leadership: review of the FY25 State department budget request. Witnesses included The Honorable Antony Blinken, secretary of State.

Ranking Member Risch gave the following remarks:

“Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for those remarks.

“Let me say that it appears we are at the start of a new era in global affairs – one marked by growing instability, increasing competition, and fraying economic relationships. This is a time for U.S. leadership and resolve.

“The president’s annual budget, which is what we’re talking about here today, shows his priorities and there are a couple of areas in this budget request where we agree. But, the request lacks seriousness and shows an inability to make tough choices. 

“First, the budget’s biggest focus is on climate change. That focus doesn’t help Ukraine or Israel, or help our allies compete against China. In fact, by rejecting low-carbon energy options like natural gas and pushing a ‘green only’ approach, the administration is doing more to enable China than ‘out-compete’ it.

“If the administration wants to ‘out-compete China,’ then it should focus on China’s growing advantages in ports, airports, digital technologies, and other critical sectors, rather than advancing ideological pet projects.

“Indeed, this proposed budget does contain a poison pill, which I suspect you probably already know, Secretary Blinken, in the form of a ‘green climate fund.’ It proposes to transfer U.S. tax-payer money to China through the UN, about a billion dollars of it.

“The budget’s so-called ‘out-compete China’ initiatives might enjoy my support if the Department actually worked with this committee, but the request for your programs to be mandatory spending is inappropriate. Mandatory programs are not subject to congressional oversight, and that is why these requests have failed the last three years. In fact, I would argue, the Department has perfected the art of hiding information from Congress, which you and I talked about yesterday to some degree.

“On Israel, Ukraine, China, and Congo, it is impossible to get honest and clear information from the Department. Instead, the president prioritizes funds for non-transparent initiatives like the Partnership for Global Infrastructure, which focuses on climate and gender infrastructure, and the Department’s funds are steered not by the Department, but by the White House which is accountable to no one.  

“On Iran, the administration’s policy is fatally flawed. Outreach and accommodation have failed, and the lack of any serious strategy has come home to roost. Iran has doubled down on its support for terrorists and flooded Russia with drones and missiles.

“The Red Sea remains contested and dangerous, and the U.S. Navy has spent a billion dollars on missiles to defend vessels from Houthi attacks. Iran’s unprecedented attack against Israel shows Iran doubts this administration’s resolve to punish its behavior.

“I’m proud this committee passed the most significant Iran sanctions legislation we’ve seen in years. The End IT Act, the SHIP Act, the MAHSA Act, and legislation targeting Iranian drones are all law. Is the administration actually going to enforce them? Recent history suggests it won’t.

“Rather than imposing costs on Iran, the administration is imposing costs on Israel. You must stop blaming Israel and let the Israel remove Hamas from Gaza. That is the only way to move forward. 

“In Europe – instability is growing and your budget request is tone deaf. Congress has asked for a Ukraine strategy, which I suspect will never be delivered. If you were serious, funds for Ukraine would be in the base budget. Instead, urging us to continue to support long-term policy with short-term emergency packages is inappropriate.

“In Haiti, which you and I talked about yesterday again, I remain concerned about the logistics, feasibility, and cost of the proposed Multinational Security Support Mission. Prior international interventions over a long period of time in Haiti have been dismal failures, leaving the Haitian people worse off than before. We cannot use U.S. tax-payer dollars to support an open-ended, poorly conceived mission in a country plagued by extreme gang violence and political instability without some kind of assurance that things are going to be different this time.

“In Africa, we have had coups in seven countries in the last three years. Our people continue to get kicked out of countries there. In the worst instance, we are witnessing a devastating conflict in Sudan. Humanitarian needs are overwhelming, and severe food and medicine shortages are causing near-famine conditions. Yet, it took 10 months to appoint a special envoy. Even then, Mr. Perriello's appointment is for 180 days, and support for his office remains insufficient. And, our partners have highlighted a lack of U.S. engagement and leadership at meetings on Sudan.  

“Mr. Secretary, during our first conversation after your confirmation, we discussed the need for a coordination and assistance framework to help the United States get ahead of the next pandemic. So, I introduced legislation that you and the White House supported, for which I am appreciative.

“Despite that, this budget undermines effective coordination of U.S. global health security. I also did not, and will never, agree to negotiations at the World Health Assembly that would trade away U.S. intellectual property rights and give a deeply flawed World Health Organization enhanced authority and resources.

“These are challenging times for the United States and the world, but our policies across the board are not helping us. We need to do better.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

These remarks have been lightly edited for clarity. Witness testimony is available on