Budget Battles Continue

June 3, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Though Vice President Joe Biden’s bipartisan budget working group continued to meet this week, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on spending proposals.  House Republicans and Democrats met separately with President Obama this week to discuss budget issues, but little if any progress was made on reaching an agreement.   Also yesterday, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered a speech before the Alexander Hamilton Society, making a strong case for America as a leader in the world and rejecting isolationism. Ryan said “A world without U.S. leadership will be a more chaotic place. A place where we have less influence, and a place where our citizens face more dangers and fewer opportunities.”

Must Reads
Who’s In the News

Paul Ryan embraces American Exceptionalism, rejects isolationism in foreign policy speech (Michael Warren – The Weekly Standard)

Paul Ryan defended America’s role as the leading defender of freedom and liberty in a foreign policy address this evening. Speaking to the Alexander Hamilton Society, Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, laid out a vision that defended America’s exceptional role as a world leader and drew sharp contrast to those who advocate for isolationism and withdrawal.

A budget cutter with a conscience (Michael Gerson – Washington Post)

British Prime Minister David Cameron has emerged as the most admirable of anomalies: the budget-cutter as leader of conscience.

Smart Power

Budget crisis will hit US State Department hard (Kate Brannen – Defense News)

The U.S. State Department’s budget has already taken a hit in 2011, but it appears that its finances will be squeezed even tighter just as the department is trying to regain ground lost to the Pentagon over the past decade.

Humanitarian aid pays off (Sylvia Lewis – Detroit Free Press)

In reply to some of the online responses to your June 1 editorial about the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (“Fund life-saving vaccines”): Our national debt was not caused by providing foreign aid of the type mentioned in the editorial. All foreign aid constitutes about 1% of our budget, and development aid (the kind mentioned in the editorial) constitutes about 0.5% of the budget.

Politics/Foreign Policy
Among Pakistanis, perception of US aid varies (Steven Inskeep – NPR Morning Edition)

The United States has spent more than $20 billion on Pakistan over the past decade, prompting some Americans to ask what they are getting for the money. America is deeply unpopular in Pakistan, and after the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Pakistani politicians unleashed a wave of criticism of the United States.  To understand why U.S. aid has not made more friends, NPR went to the gates of Forman Christian College in Lahore, founded for Christian and Muslim students by the Presbyterian Church and in recent years financed in part by the U.S. government.

Pacific Partnership Series (Eddie Walsh – The Diplomat)

Over the past decade, stability operations have emerged as a core mission of the US military. In response, the US Navy established the Pacific Partnership – an annual training and readiness mission sponsored by the US Pacific Fleet that evolved out of the US military’s response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. The mission is aimed at enabling the United States to conduct ongoing Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) and theatre security missions in the US Pacific Command Area of Responsibility in concert with regional partners and non-governmental organizations. It also provides a means of demonstrating US strategic commitment to the region.

Sarah Palin collects a bushel of Pinocchios on her bus tour (Glenn Kessler – Washington Post)

Obama proposed to forgive up to $1 billion of Egypt’s $3.6 billion debt (money that was spent buying American farm products). The forgiveness, which would take several years, would take the form of a “debt swap,” in which the money saved will be invested in designated programs in Egypt.  The other $1 billion would consist of loan guarantees by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which are structured at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. So none of this would involve new debt issued by the Treasury.

US offers foreign aid to countries holding billions in Treasury securities (Fox News)

The United States is providing hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign aid to countries that it borrows billions from, according to a report by Congress’s research arm.