Today in Washington – Tuesday, October 5, 2010
11:30AM: President Obama signs the Gold Medal Bill, granting the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese-American soldiers who fought during World War II
1:00PM: Secretary Clinton meets with Warren and Susie Buffett, at the Department of State
3:15PM: Administrator Shah meets with Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, at USAID
4:00PM: Secretary Clinton meets with President Obama and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, at the White House
4:30PM: President and Michelle Obama and the First Lady host the Diplomatic Corps Reception
5:15PM: Secretary Clinton receives the George McGovern Leadership Award at the World Food Program USA’s 9th annual awards ceremony
7:50PM: President Obama delivers remarks to the 2010 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit
The Daily GAB
Before adjourning earlier than planned last week, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) for FY11 that will keep the government operating at FY10 levels until December 3rd. The measure includes some funding adjustments for a few areas, including the International Affairs Budget. Specifically, the CR level for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq – and Egypt, Israel and Jordan — is adjusted to include FY10 monies forward funded in FY09. This ensures no decrease in assistance and U.S. operations in these countries under the CR. Whether or not Congress will actually complete work on the FY11 appropriations bills during the lameduck session in mid-November is a big question. Depending on the outcome of the election, final action may be pushed off to January and the new Congress – requiring passage of another CR.
Who’s In the News
Shah: QDDR coming this month, for real this time (Josh Rogin – Foreign Policy)
Now that the White House has released portions of its sweeping review of global development policy, the development community is looking hard for the State Department to follow suit and release its own comprehensive policy review, the first ever Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). The long delayed review was first planned for March, then April, and finally promised by the end of September. Now, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah says it will be out this month. “The Secretary said 30 to 60 days, but well inside 30 is my guess,” Shah said in an exclusive interview with The Cable. “We had hoped to have it out by the end of September, but we’ll have it out soon.”
Sec. Gates’ real worry about who serves (Jonathan Capehart – Washington Post)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a speech at Duke University last week on the all-volunteer military that shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s worried there’s a widening gap between the armed forces and the nation they are called upon to defend. When there was a draft, those conscripted into service came from all walks of life, every socioeconomic stratum and every region of the country. Today, not so much. And that presents an unsettling reality: most Americans have the unsettling luxury of having no personal connection to the nation’s longstanding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. proposal targets reform of Iraqi civil service (Walter Pincus – Washington Post)
The United States has developed an ambitious plan to help Iraq reorganize its civil service of 3 million employees, including promoting a decentralized system that establishes provincial authorities to run governmental activities at the local level. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) outlines the proposal in its request for bidders on a four-year, $180 million contract to work with Iraq’s prime minister and parliament in setting up civil servant laws and regulations, and also creating local institutions to deliver services to the population.
Haiti still waiting for aid pledged by U.S., others (Jonathan M. Katz and Martha Mendoza – Associated Press)
Nearly nine months after the magnitude 7 earthquake of Jan. 12, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets amid piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived. The money was pledged by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in March for use this year in rebuilding. The U.S. already has spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funds, reconstruction of the wrecked capital cannot begin. With fiscal 2011 just beginning, the money is still tied up in Washington. At fault: bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful. Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food.
In Haiti, Rising Call for Displaced to Go Away (Deborah Sontag – New York Times)
As tent camps go, the one on the 28-acre Church of God property overlooking the Valley of Bourdon is almost bucolic, with hundreds of canvas-draped shelters under leafy shade trees and a cohesiveness among residents. But panic is building there. The Church of God is planning to evict the encampment in the near future. While the church relented on a Sept. 30 deadline under pressure from humanitarian officials, it still wants its Haitian headquarters rid of a population that church officials have come to see as a freeloading nuisance. “This used to be a beautiful place, but these people are tearing up the property,” said Jim Hudson, a Church of God missionary living at the site. “They’re urinating on it. They’re bathing out in public. They’re stealing electricity. And they don’t work. They sit around all day, waiting for handouts.”
U.S. Will Increase AIDS Fund Donation (Betsy McKay – Wall Street Journal)
The Obama administration is expected on Tuesday to announce a large increase in its pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and to call for reform of the organization. The pledge of $4 billion over the next three fiscal years to the Geneva-based organization comes as governments and donors around the world have slowed increases in spending to combat HIV/AIDS, with weaker economies straining budgets. At the same time, pressure has grown on the Global Fund to speed up disbursements, slash bureaucracy, review grant proposals more critically, and strengthen monitoring and evaluation.
China’s and Japan’s top leaders met in Belgium, indicating a thaw in relations since a diplomatic battle broke out last month over Japan’s arrest of a Chinese fishing captain off the disputed Diaoyu Islands. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan met Monday in Brussels, on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting. They met in a corridor outside the conference venue after a working dinner and spoke for about 25 minutes, Kan told reporters, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency. During the meeting, Wen stressed the mutual benefits of Beijing and Tokyo maintaining good relations, according to China’s state-run media. Kan said likewise, Kyodo said.