A Reboot for Congress?
Compromise. Action. Bipartisanship. These attributes have been in woefully short supply in Washington the last few years. But this week’s passage of the omnibus FY14 appropriations bill marks a welcome “reboot” from all the dysfunction and offers some hope that both ends of Pennsylvania Ave can still work together.
Even more important, it repeals the destructive product of all the gridlock: indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts under sequestration and government by CR’s (aka auto-pilot).
For International affairs programs — that small but mighty 1% of federal spending – the omnibus updates and prioritizes (for the first time in two years) where and how our nation deploys our assets overseas.
With bipartisan blessing, the bill provides important funding increases to:
- Help respond to the staggering humanitarian crisis in and around Syria
- Improve embassy security
- Tackle preventable illnesses
- Boost democracy training and assistance
And it includes a small but meaningful initiative to enhance the impact and efficiency of our non-emergency food aid overseas that will enable us to reach more people without increasing the cost.
It’s not a perfect bill — compromise rarely is. The lack of funding to ensure needed reforms at the IMF and reductions to UN peacekeeping, international organizations, and development assistance are troubling.
But after a few years of budget cuts and fiscal crises, the bill deserves our praise as a major step in the right direction. We should all embrace this “reboot” and enjoy it while it lasts. Given that it’s an election year, it probably won’t be for long.