Digging in on Debt

May 3, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

As Congress gets back in the full swing of things today, all eyes are on the looming debate around raising the ceiling on the debt limit.  Congress may have some extra breathing room on the debt ceiling vote as Treasury Secretary Geithner said yesterday that better than expected tax receipts will push the date from July 8 to August 2 when the U.S. would run up against its borrowing limit.  Meanwhile, many lawmakers are questioning U.S. aid to Pakistan in light of the news of Osama bin Laden’s residence in Pakistan.  On Thursday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the issue entitled “Assessing U.S. Policy and Its Limits in Pakistan” and today the Committee is holding a hearing on U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Pakistan Did Its Part (President Asif Zardari, The Washington Post)

Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world. And we in Pakistan take some satisfaction that our early assistance in identifying an al-Qaeda courier ultimately led to this day.

Next threat? Counterstrikes with Nukes, Bioweapons (Senator Richard Lugar, The Washington Times)

The attack on Osama bin Laden is a magnificent triumph for American intelligence and for the men and women of our military who planned and carried out this daring operation. It is a testament to the persistence and training of our forces and demonstrates to the world that the arm of American justice is long.

Move on from Afghanistan, Focus on Pakistan (Judd Gregg – The Hill)

Afghanistan should never have been about building a nation, since there has never been a buildable nation there. It was about delivering a message that we could project power halfway around the world in a manner to destroy those who would harbor or support terrorist groups that target America.

Smart Power

Bin Laden’s death a victory over isolationism (Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, The Washington Times)

Many isolationists probably believe this means this is the right time for U.S. forces to withdraw finally from the Middle East when, in fact, this is time to make an even deeper commitment to bonding with the Afghan and Pakistani people.  In his January State of the Union Address, Mr. Obama told Americans “we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them.”

As much as many would like, we can’t turn our back on our global responsibilities (Jamie Fly, National Review Online)

As much as many would like, we can’t turn our back on our global commitments and responsibilities. Al-Qaeda and the broader terrorist threat have evolved over the last decade. Attacks continue to be plotted and disrupted and new offshoots and surrogates have proliferated.  The threats we face today are more varied and diverse. We must meet the ongoing challenges of the 9/11 era while also preparing ourselves for the new world order that is emerging.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Bin Laden Mission Prompts Lawmakers to Rethink Aid to Pakistan (Emily Cadei, CQ-attached)

Even as they celebrated the military raid that killed Osama bin Laden, lawmakers turned their attention to Pakistan and called for renewed scrutiny of the billions of dollars in aid Washington provides Islamabad each year.  “Several factors warrant a reassessment of U.S. aid to Pakistan, and this is one of them,” said Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee responsible for foreign aid.

Congress should preserve Peace Corps (Andrew Shepherd – Arizona Daily Wildcat)

Additional cuts to the Peace Corps would be unacceptable. Not only does the Peace Corps allow millions of Americans the opportunity to get experience living abroad, but it gives the people of some of the world’s most underdeveloped areas an opportunity to obtain a higher standard of living.