A New Omnibus and QDDR Released

December 15, 2010 By Melissa Silverman

Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) released his omnibus package late yesterday, just days before the spending stopgap measure is set to expire on Saturday, December 18.  The draft includes a topline figure of $1.108 billion, matching the proposal made by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL). For the International Affairs Budget, the omnibus provides approximately $55.7 billion ($53.5 billion for State-Foreign Operations).  While this is slightly lower than the Senate-passed appropriations earlier this year, the funding level is $2.5 billion above the year-long Continuing Resolution (CR) that was approved by the House last week. Chairman Inouye appears confident that the omnibus will have the 60 votes necessary to pass in the Senate, even though Republicans such as Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) are gearing up to oppose the bill.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hopes to pass the package by Saturday.  If the omnibus fails to pass, the Senate would likely take-up the House-passed CR.     

And this morning, the State Department will release the much anticipated Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). We expect the QDDR to signal a more coordinated approach to U.S. foreign policy with a clear focus on results and transparency and empowering USAID. This represents another step towards implementing a smart power foreign policy by elevating our civilian resources and ensuring effective, results-driven programs. 

 Must Reads

Who’s in the News

U.S. Appoints Acting Successor to Holbrooke  (Jay Soloman – Wall Street Journal)

 Obama administration appointed an acting special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan after the death of U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke, vowing to press ahead with the strategies he championed for ending the 10-year Afghan war. The State Department said Frank Ruggiero, a career civil servant and former deputy to Mr. Holbrooke, had been named acting special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr. Ruggiero accompanied Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to a White House meeting Tuesday morning.

 Politics/Foreign Policy

U.S. Concludes N. Korea Has More Nuclear Sites (David Sanger and William Broad – New York Times)

The Obama administration has concluded that North Korea’s new plant to enrich nuclear fuel uses technology that is “significantly more advanced” than what Iran has struggled over two decades to assemble, according to senior administration and intelligence officials.

 War review cites strides, is less confident of Afghan governance (Karen DeYoung -Washington Post)

President Obama met for nearly two hours with top national security aides Tuesday to give final approval to a year-end review of his war strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan before a summary of the assessment is publicly released Thursday.

 Mullen Expresses Impatience With Pakistan on Visit (Thom Shanker – New York Times)

America’s top military officer visited Pakistan’s capital on Tuesday, carrying what he called a strong sense of “strategic impatience” with the government here over its failure to clear insurgents from border havens where they prepare lethal attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan.

 Democrats still optimistic about START (Shira Toeplitz – Politico)

A confident Harry Reid said he had enough votes, 67, to ratify the nuclear arms treaty. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to bring START to the floor this week, despite continued protests from Republican leadership. The Nevada Democrat vowed to introduce the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty right after a vote on President Barack Obama’s tax cut package.