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On Monday May 16th, the Federal government reached the debt limit, and now the Congress is struggling to reach a decision on whether to raise the debt ceiling or to start making substantial cuts. This means cutting spending across the board, leaving no stone unturned in the quest of reducing spending, especially when these cuts have been granted by the Whitehouse. In March, President Obama signed into law a resolution that included a $17 million cut from the International Fund for Ireland and in the budget request for FY2011 all funding for the IFI was cancelled. However, Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), a longtime supporter of the IRA, has taken up the initiative to fight to restore the money to the IFI.
Rep. King has gone on the hill requesting that the House Appropriations Committee give the IFI $17 million in the 2012 budget. Even though Obama agreed to cancel funding to the IFI in the 2011 budget he has requested $6 million for the group in the FY2012 budget. It is worth noting that the group has received $500 million, and has received $281 million in earmarks since 1995. The IFI’s mission is set up to promote economic and social advance, and encourages contact, dialogue and reconciliation between nationalists and unionists throughout Ireland.
While promoting economic and social advancements between Irish nationalists and unionists is a worthy goal. Do we really need to be the ones promoting it? Especially in a time when Americans are hurting and the government is up against the debt ceiling. Is this really the best use of our tax dollars? Yet an even better question is why are Republicans, the self-proclaimed party of budget cuts, asking to restore money to an organization that doesn’t help American citizens?