Who’s In the News
Reclaiming Our Future (Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin – Washington Post)
This morning, a bipartisan task force that we co-chair unveils a bold, comprehensive plan to dramatically reduce America’s deficits and debt and strengthen our economy, enabling the nation to reclaim its future. We urge the nation’s leaders to seriously consider it. The strong economy that has made the United States the world’s leading power is gravely threatened. Federal debt will soar in the coming years under current policies, endangering our prosperity and our leadership. The national debt will overtake the economy itself, increasing our dependence on China and other foreign lenders, draining our resources and reducing our living standards. This risks economic crisis and threatens to turn America into a second-rate power. But this dire scenario is not inevitable. We can restrain the debt, rebuild our economy, restore our independence and ensure that America remains a world leader.
Haiti president appeals for calm in cholera riots (Jonathan Katz – Associated Press)
Haiti’s president appealed for calm amid fears that riots aimed at U.N. peacekeepers over a cholera epidemic could spread to the capital Wednesday, saying the violence has hurt efforts to fight the disease. In a national address after health officials announced that the death toll from cholera had risen above 1,000, President Rene Preval said barricades were keeping people from getting needed care and admonished protesters that looting would not help stem the epidemic. The U.N. canceled flights carrying 3 metric tons of soap along with other medical supplies and personnel to Cap-Haitien because of violence in Haiti’s north, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. Flights were also canceled to Port-de-Paix. Oxfam suspended water chlorination projects and the World Health Organization halted training of medical staff, the U.N. humanitarian office added in its news release. A U.N. World Food Program warehouse was looted and burned.
Coburn to McCain: Cutting defense is not ‘isolationist‘ (Josh Rogin – Foreign Policy)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Tuesday rejected the assertion by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that calls for cuts in defense spending represent the rise of “protectionism and isolationism” within the Republican party. At a conference Monday at the Foreign Policy Initiative, a conservative think tank, McCain said that he was worried about divisions within the Republican Party on the issue of defense spending. “I worry a lot,” McCain said. “Because throughout the history of the Republican Party in modern times, there’s been, obviously, as we know, two wings: The isolationist wing, manifested before World War II and at other times; and the internationalist side. And so I think there are going to be some tensions within our party.”
How Blocking New START Could Weaken U.S. Foreign Policy (Max Fisher – The Atlantic)
Now that Senator Jon Kyl, the informal Republican leader on New START, has ruled against voting on the U.S.-Russian nuclear disarmament treaty during the “lame duck” session, it’s significantly less likely that it will be ratified either before or after the 112th Congress is seated in January. That might seem unusual, given that the past three U.S.-Russia nuclear disarmament treaties were all signed by Republican Presidents, sometimes with the support of some of the same Republican Senators now refusing to enact this fourth iteration, including Kyl. It might also seem unusual because this treaty only reduces the U.S. nuclear stockpile by 650 warheads, while the previous three reduced it by almost 10,000 warheads.
Obama Sails Trade Sea, Where Friends Are Foes (Helene Cooper – New York Times)
Conventional wisdom in Washington says that trade policy is one of the few areas where President Obama and Congressional Republicans can work together in the next two years. But making progress will require Mr. Obama to navigate opposition from within his own party, and could test how far he is willing to go in compromising and building new coalitions in the wake of the Republican victories. In announcing last week that he could not reach an expected free-trade pact with South Korea, Mr. Obama cited a possibly skeptical Congress as a potential hurdle, saying he did not want to negotiate a pact he could not sell on Capitol Hill, where Democrats have frozen consideration of free-trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. But Mr. Obama also promised that in the next several weeks, his negotiators would keep trying to overcome the disputes with South Korea over autos and beef that stalled the pact last week.