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When it Works

April 2, 2009

At FCNL, we lobby incessantly on issues ranging from international peace and security to domestic poverty. Sometimes, we never see the fruits of our labor, or it takes years. Other times, we see measurable victories in a short window of time.

Last night, we saw one of these sucesses. FCNL as well as a number of other NGO’s and activists provided support for Senators’ Kerry and Lugars amendment to restore $4billion in funding to the international affairs budget – which was cut when the Senate Budget Committee marked up their budget resolution last week.

The amendment was adopted by unanimous consent. Not one senator objected. FCNL’s senior budget expert Ruth Flower told me it was unexpected. Senate staff predicted it would fail.

Yet, thanks to a barrage of phone calls and emails from citizens across the country – the Senate got the message.

After eight years of the Bush Administration, American’s want to restore our image in the world. The best way to do that — extend economic assistance and strengthen our diplomatic relationships with other nations. And as Senator Kerry put it last night in his floor speech: “It takes money to drive civilian foreign policy.”

The Senate and House must still pass their respective budgets, and then reconcile these resolutions, and adopt a final budget.

But while there is still more work to do before we can truly claim victory, this story should serve to remind us that we aren’t just wasting our time. Advocacy works!

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