Prominent North Carolina politicians, including Sen. Kay Hagan and former governors Jim Hunt and Jim Martin, spoke in support of U.S. foreign spending on Monday, saying investments outside of the country can benefit the state’s economy.
Two key figures they pointed to: The U.S. international affairs budget for 2013 of $52.2 billion, about 1 percent of the federal budget, and North Carolina’s exports in 2012 of $28.8 billion. (The state's imports were about $49.5 billion.)
Hunt, a Democrat, and Martin, a Republican, said they support continuing foreign spending because the state’s economic growth depends at least in part in the country’s peaceful foreign engagement. The event, held in Raleigh, was sponsored by the Washington-based lobby U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, RTI International, Research Triangle Park and the North Carolina Farm Bureau.
"America has a great responsibility to lead in the resolution of problems and to take part in building economies all over the world," Martin said. "Our economy can thrive by helping others succeed so there will be markets for our goods."
Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, R-Dunn, said she wouldn’t support increasing the international affairs budget before resolving fiscal issues in Washington.
"At this point right now, in the situation that we're in," Ellmers said, "I don't necessarily see more dollars being spent; just more efficient dollars being spent."