Get The Facts

February 9, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed its allocations for the remainder of the current fiscal year and is expected to release detailed text of its continuing resolution tomorrow.  For the International Affairs Budget, this means a potential devastating 13 percent cut, far disproportionate to other national security spending. Please click here for a fact sheet on these cuts and click here for the USGLC’s statement. Also, don’t miss Congresswoman Nita Lowey on why cutting foreign assistance is dangerous for our national security.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Against cutting foreign assistance (Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Politico)

As the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs for 10 years, and chairwoman for the past four, I know we can come together because we have. And our cooperation must continue — even as major foreign assistance has been put on the chopping block — because our national security demands it.

Budget Cuts Threaten America’s Smart Power (Norman Ornstein, Roll Call)

Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen — and we don’t know which Middle Eastern country will next face serious stresses and strains of popular uprisings against autocracies. The United States has a vital interest in making sure that those popular protests for freedom are not squelched — and that they do not cascade into upheaval that results in extremist regimes or instability that provides breeding ground for terrorists or opportunities for them to find safe havens.

Smart Power

To Fight Poverty, Invest in Girls (Nancy Gibbs, Time)

Development experts say the solutions need to be holistic, providing access to safe spaces, schools and health clinics with programs designed specifically for girls’ needs. Success depends on infrastructure, on making fuel and water more available so girls don’t have to spend as many as 15 hours a day fetching them. It requires enlisting whole communities — mothers, fathers, teachers, religious leaders — in helping girls realize their potential instead of seeing them as dispensable or, worse, as prey.

Politics/Foreign Policy

U.S. Pakistan Aid Shows Little Progress (Tom Wright, Wall Street Journal)

The report, released jointly this week by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of State and Department of Defense, found U.S. aid officials on the ground in Pakistan had failed to supply data to allow a systematic evaluation of whether the assistance was helping stabilize the nation. “One year after the launch of the civilian-assistance strategy in Pakistan, USAID has not been able to demonstrate measurable progress,” said the report, an assessment of the program for the final three months of 2010. “We believe that USAID has an imperative to accumulate, analyze, and report information on the results achieved under its programs.”

The Poor Are Getting … Richer (Charles Kenny, Foreign Policy)

A related trend is that poverty is becoming more disbursed — no longer concentrated in a few very large countries, but spread among a greater number of mid-sized nations. In 1990, China accounted for more than a third of a global total of 1.8 billion living on $1.25 a day. In 2015, Nigeria is predicted to have the most poor people of any country in the world — but it will account for just over a sixth of the global total, 585 million. The decline in global poverty is unambiguously good news for billions of people worldwide. But it will pose some problems for the world’s aid agencies. As the majority of poor people shifts toward living in middle-income countries, donors are going to have to think about moving away from a model of helping poor countries to one of helping poor individuals.

House to battle over funds to increase security at the U.N. (Josh Rogin, the Cable)

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) will get her first chance to fulfill her promise to cut U.S. funding from the United Nations tomorrow, when the House votes on a bill to take back $180 million already given to the U.N.