Deep and Disproportionate Cuts

July 27, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

This morning at 10:00 a.m, the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up the FY12 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill released yesterday, which includes deep cuts to the International Affairs Budget.  The subcommittee’s $47.2 billion mark makes dramatic reductions in non-war related programs – 20 percent below FY 2010 levels. State Department and USAID operations, along with multilateral and development assistance, bear the brunt of the budget cuts, with reductions in these areas ranging between 16% and 35% below current (FY11) levels. The USGLC expressed great concern for the deep and disproportionate cuts. Click here to read the release.

Must Reads

USGLC In the News

House bill would impose huge cuts on State and USAID (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

“We’re starting to see the kinds of cuts that will affect the ability of agencies to implement important tools of our foreign assistance and our foreign policy,” said Mark Green, a former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania and currently senior director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. “We understand that every part of the government is on the table, but what we’re looking at here is a very small part of the budget taking significant cuts.”

Smart Power
House Bill Targets Aid To Pakistan
(Associated Press)
House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a foreign aid bill that would restrict President Barack Obama’s authority on providing U.S. taxpayer dollars to Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority while cutting money for international organizations. The legislation would provide $47.2 billion in the next budget year, including $7.6 billion for the Global War on Terror fund. That money pays for security forces and police in Iraq and backs up civilian programs for counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan. The overall bill is $8.6 billion less than current spending. ”

Clinton, in letter, blasts bill restricting foreign aid (Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is blasting a House bill that would impose strict new requirements on U.S. aid to countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and Yemen, warning that she will urge a veto if the measure reaches President Obama’s desk. The bill “would be debilitating to my efforts to carry out a considered foreign policy and diplomacy, and to use foreign assistance strategically to that end,” Clinton wrote Tuesday to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

House’s State Spending Measure Would Set Restrictions on Foreign Aid (Emily Cadei and Jonathan Broder, CQ )
House appropriators have included a long and stringent list of restrictions on foreign aid in their fiscal 2012 spending bill, including tough conditions on assistance to countries in the Middle East and South Asia and curbs on funds going to a number of multilateral institutions.

Kerry’s State Department Authorization Backs Administration Priorities (Emily Cadei, CQ )
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will unveil legislation authorizing State Department operations Wednesday, offering a stark counterpoint to both the policy bill approved by House Foreign Affairs last week and a House spending bill released Tuesday.

U.S. Freezes Grant to Malawi Over Handling of Protests (Celia Dugger, New York Times)
In a sharp blow to Malawi’s international standing, an agency of the American government on Tuesday froze a $350 million grant to the nation after antigovernment protests there last week left 19 people dead. The American decision followed Britain’s July 14 suspension of aid to the Malawian government — which has in the past gotten almost half its budget from international donors — on grounds that it had suppressed demonstrations and intimidated civic groups.

How Does the Debt Debate Affect Foreign Aid? (CFR Interview with Stewart Patrick)
The current context is that foreign aid has gone up significantly over the last few years. These are cuts to foreign aid that had been increasing in part as a result of 9/11, and also as part of U.S. national security strategy where [the argument that] it was important to increase soft power resources. But the argument that these are soft power resources that we really need to nurture is in question right now. Is there a way to make it leaner and more effective? There have been a lot of efforts to do that. There’s been increased emphasis on aid effectiveness within the Obama administration—but one of the ironies of the proposed cuts would be to actually eliminate the budgetary office at USAID geared to improving aid.

Africa Hungers for Good Governance (Wall Street Journal Editorial)
East Africa is currently undergoing what experts believe to be the worst food crisis seen in roughly 60 years. Nearly 12 million people in the region are now faced with the threat of starvation and malnutrition. A special adviser to the United Nations recently argued that the chief culprit was none other than man-made climate change—and by extension, rich industrialized countries. That’s half-right—the East African famine is man-made. But the causes of Eastern Africa’s suffering lies closer to home.

OAS is a basket case – but a needed one (Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald)
The 34-country Organization of American States is better known for its cocktail parties than for its contributions to mankind, but congressional Republicans may have been drunk last week when they voted to end all U.S. funding to the regional institution.