A Marathon Markup

July 21, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

After yesterday’s marathon session into the wee hours of this morning, the House Foreign Affairs Committee continues its markup of the FY12 State Department-Foreign Relations Authorization Act.  A number of amendments have been offered and sparked heated debate, many with impacts to the International Affairs Budget.  An amendment offered by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), which cuts 25% of funding to the UN regular budget, passed 23-17.  Amendments attempting to restore funding for various programs, including UN Peacekeeping missions, failed largely along party lines.   An amendment offered by Rep. Berman to repeal the bill’s defunding of USAID’s Budget and Resource Management office and require the State Department to do a QDDR every four years was defeated 18-24.  You can follow the debate here.

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USGLC in the News

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Kids discuss U.S. global leadership in the USGLC’s new video.

Smart Power

Water Can Be a Bridge to Peace in the Middle East (Craig and Marc Kielburger, Huffington Post Blogs)

The Good Water Neighbors project, launched by Friends of the Earth Middle East in 2001, is comprised of 29 communities in Israel, Palestine and Jordan, all learning about sustainability at facilities like the Auja EcoCenter in Palestine. Grants from local and international governments fund water projects in Good Water Neighbor schools and public buildings — a total of $70 million U.S. dollars so far — to build rainwater storage units, greywater reuse systems and ecological gardens. It’s a drop in the bucket that won’t single-handedly jump start the peace process, but creating dialogue among adversaries is an important victory.

Politics/Foreign Policy

House Panel Weighs GOP Effort to Restrict Foreign Aid (Joanna Anderson, CQ)

A House panel is poised to endorse a $22.7 billion foreign policy authorization measure Thursday, after Republicans beat back Democratic efforts to boost support for international organizations and peacekeeping missions. The GOP-drafted measure aims to curtail President Obama’s foreign policy authority… Panel members backed proposals to block assistance funds for a handful of Latin American nations, as well as funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s trilateral assistance program in South Africa. Overall, it would cut $6.4 billion from his [Obama’s] fiscal 2012 request, according to the committee.

House panel votes to defund the OAS (Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy)

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House Committee Would Tie All Pakistan Aid to Security Conditions: A Terrible Idea (Wren Elhai, Center for Global Development Blogs)

American leaders from President Obama and Senator Richard Lugar down the line have told the Pakistani people that the United States has an enduring interest in their long-term success. Given the United States’ fickle history, convincing anyone in Pakistan that there is any seriousness behind that statement has been understandably difficult to say the least. For sure, the development program could be more effective than it has been, and U.S. staff in Islamabad could do much better at communicating their plans and activities. However, the fundamental foreign policy structure is correct: a steady, long-term development strategy that includes both aid and non-aid tools, separated from the constantly changing short-term security relationship. Just this week, though, something changed.

U.N.: Famine in Somalia is killing tens of thousands (Sudarsann Raghavan, Washington Post)

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