A Double Rejection

March 10, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate rejected both the House’s Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) and the Senate Democrats’ proposed package. H.R. 1 was rejected by a vote of 44-56, with all Democrats and Republicans Jim DeMint, Rand Paul and Mike Lee voting against. The Democrats’ package was defeated 42-58 with all Republicans and 11 Democrats voting against. The current Continuing Resolution expires March 18. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made a strong economic argument for the International Affairs Budget in testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations. Secretary Geithner warned that if the U.S. cuts back on international affairs programs, we will “give China a substantial advantage in promoting its own commercial and security interests across numerous regions and sectors.” Outside the beltway, USGLC National Security Advisory Council Member Gen. Norman Siep followed up a successful field event in Columbia, South Carolina with a radio interview explaining why the International Affairs Budget is so important to South Carolina families and businesses.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Former First Lady Laura Bush Urges Republicans to Spare U.S. Foreign Aid (Nicole Gaouette, Bloomberg)

Former First Lady Laura Bush said she will lobby Republicans not to make foreign aid cuts that may harm women and children, arguing that those reductions in funding would also hurt the U.S. economy, national security and the nation’s moral standing.

Melinda Gates stresses importance of foreign aid during budget battle (Christine Delargy , CBS News)

As the budget battle ensues on Capitol Hill, Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, stresses the importance of U.S. funding to foreign aid.  Gates is the keynote speaker at the CARE Women Conference, marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

Names: Adams to be State’s new lead Congressional official (Josh Rogin, the Cable blog)

Adams, who currently serves as the deputy assistant secretary for House affairs in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H), will be promoted to replace Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Rich Verma, who is resigning to return to the private sector, three State Department officials confirmed.  Initial reaction from Congressional sources regarding the appointment was positive. Adams is well liked and should start his new role with a reservoir of productive Capitol Hill relationships to draw upon. And although State officials maintain his selection is not meant to shift focus toward the House, it’s obvious that the State Department needs to devote a lot more attention to the newly GOP-led lower chamber.

Smart Power

Geithner: Increase Foreign Aid, or Lose Ground to China (Ben Terris, National Journal)

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner asked a House Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday to increase foreign aid — or else face the risk of losing ground to China. Perhaps hoping that Republicans fear China more than they fear spending increases, Geithner urged the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to increase foreign development lending to $3.4 billion (58 percent over 2010 levels).

Hilary Clinton and Melinda Gates launch Saving Lives at Birth (Cathy O’Brien, Washington Examiner)

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officially launched Saving Lives at Birth today during an event at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington DC. Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development is a new program which will seek innovative ways to prevent and treat pregnant women in and their newborns in rural, low-resource settings.

Politics/Foreign Policy

US Senate rejects rival spending-cut plans (AFP)

Lawmakers rejected the Republican blueprint — which would cut some $61 billion through the end of the 2011 fiscal year, at midnight September 30 — by a 44-56 margin weeks after it cleared the Republican-led House of Representatives. Democrats, routed by Republicans in November elections shaped by deep anger at high unemployment, have tarred their political foes’ proposal as an extreme attack on critical services and strategic outlays like foreign aid.

Senate Democrats push for spending deal (David Rodgers, Politico)

That’s very likely a non-starter for many House Republicans, who want to keep a single-minded focus on rolling back domestic and foreign aid appropriations to the levels seen in the last year of the Bush administration. And it’s not clear yet how far the White House, which will be increasingly driving the talks and wants a deal done in the next month, will move in that direction either.

When Women’s Day Is a Thing of the Past (Foreign Policy interview with Michelle Bachelet)

FP: How will you convince states that working for women is in their best interest?

MB:We need to work on showing more clearly — with stronger arguments — how important women are as an economic actor, as a political actor, as a social actor, so that presidents and prime ministers see how they cannot lose the important contribution that women are in the community. I will try to produce this information linked to the region, and I hope someday [to produce it] country by country because I think each president needs to have good arguments to make good economic and political decisions. We will be working on that and also work on trying to build a big network of universities, research centers, women’s centers, so that we can have the strongest possible data in terms that will permit people who make decisions to make the best possible decisions.

A transition for Arab economies (David Ignatius, Washington Post)

After the radiant sunrise of the Arab spring, here’s a somber shadow: Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries making the transition to democracy are likely to face severe economic problems over the next several years – ones that could bring chaos if the Arabs and their friends in the West aren’t wise. For the dimensions of this economic transition, think of the Marshall Plan after World War II, but add several complicating factors: The United States and many of the European governments that would fund such a program can’t afford it; the new democracies don’t have governments yet to manage the assistance and probably won’t for months; and the Arab people are likely to be prickly about accepting help, especially if it has U.S. strings attached.

From Afar, Moneymaker and Mother (Katrin Bennhold, New York Times)

It is a tale of emotional hardship, but also of female empowerment. Just as women in rich countries now often outnumber men in the work force and in education, women from poor countries are the majority of migrant workers in developed countries and send a greater share of their income home in remittances. In all, the World Bank says, remittances totaled $325 billion last year, or three times official development aid. Women, who formerly migrated mainly as dependents of male migrants, now increasingly move on their own and are the main breadwinners in their families, challenging traditional roles.