This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) that would eliminate all federal funding for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), which was established to help resolve international conflicts peacefully. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Cravaack urged support for his amendment: “Make no mistake, funding for government programs and nonprofit organizations that are not critical to the functioning of core government services must be considered for cuts. With an extensive lobbying effort to portray the Institute for Peace as incredibly important to our Nation's work on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, a few U.S. officials have signed letters in its support. While I have seen evidence to the contrary, I will, for the sake of argument and respect for the handful of generals that support the Institute for Peace cede their point. However, I will note that the United States Institute for Peace grant program is entirely duplicative of existing grant programs of the United States, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations. At a time when the government must do more with less, I remain convinced the research, training, workshop holding, and humanitarian work of the United States Institute for Peace, its small staff in Afghanistan and Iraq, can be replicated by divisions or offices with the Department of Defense, the State Department, or through entities like the Peace Corps and USAID. It must.”
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) opposed the amendment: “I have to say it boggles my mind how we can argue one minute about whether to withdraw troops from Afghanistan or authorize the use of force in Libya and in the next minute seek to eliminate the one U.S. government institution that is dedicated to resolving such conflicts peacefully. No other institution can accomplish the mission Congress gave the USIP. No other agency has this peace-building mandate….Under Secretary of Defense [Michele] Flournoy, talking about one specific example in Iraq where ``The USIP helped tribal and local government leaders forge a groundbreaking agreement viewed by local leaders and military officials as a turning point toward peace and stability in one of Iraq's most violent regions.'' I fail to understand what national interests could possibly be served by reducing the number of tools at our disposal. I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.”
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 226-194. Voting “yea” were 216 Republicans and 10 Democrats. 176 Democrats and 18 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment that would eliminate all federal funding for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), which was established to help resolve international conflicts peacefully. In order for the USIP to be eliminated, however, the Senate would have to vote to repeal it as well. Since the Senate had not voted to defund USIP, it continued to operate.