“An effective and efficient capability”

March 11, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified before the House Appropriations State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee, urging lawmakers to ensure her department has sufficient funds to carry out its national security missions across the world. Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) said at the hearing she believes Congress and the State Department can work together to “maintain an effective and efficient diplomatic and development capability,” but that “justifying the total funding levels proposed in this budget simply will not be possible.”  Later today, the House Appropriations Committee is expected to unveil another short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded past March 18, when the current CR expires.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Rep. Granger: Scope of Foreign Aid Misunderstood, But Budget Cuts Needed (Judy Wodruff, PBS NewsHour)

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, speaks with Judy Woodruff about U.S. spending on foreign aid. Granger chairs the House subcommittee that appropriates foreign aid funding.

Smart Power

State Department Is Warned Funds Are Shrinking Even as Missions Expand (Emily Cadei, CQ )

The top House appropriator responsible for State Department and foreign aid spending bluntly told the Obama administration Thursday that it “will not be possible” to provide full funding for that portion of the 2012 budget request.

U.S. will keep helping Afghan women (Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post)

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that the U.S. government will not back away from supporting women’s rights in Afghanistan, despite the removal of some gender-equity provisions from two large U.S. Agency for International Development programs in the war-torn nation.

Aid Agencies : Cash shortfall may halt Libya evacuation (Economic Times)

International aid agencies warned on Friday that they might be forced to halt evacuation flights for thousands of foreign migrants fleeing to Libya’s borders every day because of a lack of funding. The appeal came as the UN refugee agency and the International Organisation for Migration raised concerns about checkpoints in Libya that might be hampering the flow of migrants trying to leave the country.

Politics/Foreign Policy

New continuing resolution in play as budget talks resume (David Rodgers, Politico)

But there appears to be a genuine coordinated effort to win quick enactment of a three-week stop gap spending bill to avert any government shutdown next Friday. Adopting the same format as Boehner’s first short-term funding resolution, the new extension would impose additional spending cuts of $2 billion a week through April 8 for a total savings of about $6 billion. But it’s also expected to be free of the controversial legislative riders opposed by the White House. Final details of the measure will be released Friday by the House Appropriations Committee, and the goal is to move it quickly through Congress next week so as to focus on the more difficult chore of crafting an agreement for the last six months of this fiscal year, ending Sept. 30.

Organizations Ready Aid in Quake Aftermath (Patrick Barta, Wall Street Journal)

Kristy Allen-Shirley, the South Asia and Pacific communications director for the international aid organization World Vision, said initial reports indicated tsunami waves were small in the Philippines and Indonesia.  World Vision staff in Papua New Guinea have pre-positioned supplies for up to 2,000 people in case the waves cause major damage, the group said. Ms. Allen-Shirley said World Vision and groups like it already maintain large offices in Japan, in part to support global fund-raising efforts, but also as a base for its regional emergency response teams, which are often dispatched to less-developed countries to deal with  disasters.

Clinton pledges increased U.S. economic leadership in Asia (Josh Rogin, the Cable blog)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed Asian economic leaders Wednesday morning and pledged U.S. leadership on building a free, transparent, and fair trade community in East and Southeast Asia.  Clinton’s remarks were part of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum being held in downtown Washington, which will feature meetings with senior Obama administration officials throughout the week. The United States is hosting the annual APEC conference this November in Hawaii.

UN pointman urges aid for North Korea (Agence France Presse)

The UN pointman on North Korea called on the international community to provide relief aid to the impoverished communist state, saying that support should not be dependent on political conditions.  However, Marzuki Darusman, the special rapporteur who has not been allowed by Pyongyang to visit North Korea, stressed that with any help should come with a requirement for access. In a report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday and which has been spotted on its website, Darusman said his call for the international community to provide humanitarian aid to North Korea “should nevertheless not be contingent on political conditions.”