Higher Levels for International Food Aid

October 17, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

As final FY12 negotiations continue and with four weeks remaining before expiration of the current continuing resolution, House and Senate leaders are still negotiating on final 302(b) allocations for the FY12 appropriations bills.  Among other discrepancies, negotiators need to reconcile a $6 billion difference in the House and Senate levels for the International Affairs Budget.  As these negotiations continue, the Senate will bring its first “minibus” appropriations bill to the floor this week.  The bill will consist of three appropriations bills: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice Science, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.  The Senate level for international food aid programs in the Agriculture Appropriations bill, including Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole, is about $500 million higher than the House FY12 level that passed in June. Also, USGLC Nevada Co-Chair Senator Richard Bryan made a strong case for the International Affairs Budget on a statewide political talk show, discussing his personal involvement with USGLC as well as the economic and national security imperative of investing in U.S. global leadership.  Hosted by Jon Ralston, a well-known Nevada political reporter, the talk show Face to Face airs in both the Las Vegas and Reno markets. Click here to watch the interview.

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Who’s in the News

Don’t cut lifesaving health assistance (Christopher J. Elias and Richard Stearns, The Hill)

Five years ago, Richard Sianeza was on his deathbed, dying of AIDS. A farmer in Zambia, he had spent seven months unable to work and unable to support his family. A World Vision community caregiver paid Richard a visit and encouraged him to be tested for HIV…Richard is just one of the millions of people alive today because of American leadership. Yes, U.S. foreign assistance is a primary reason Richard is alive and healthy today.

Smart Power

The self-inflicted wound of US foreign aid cuts (Kevin Gallagher and Katherine Koleski, The Guardian)

It’s not every day that foreign aid is front page news in the United States, but it is because slashing foreign aid has become one of the few areas of bipartisanship in the US Congress. Such an act of retreat is short-sighted. Given that China and other emerging markets are ramping up their overseas development assistance, the US should be revamping and increasing aid, not cutting.

How to save the innovative Millennium Challenge Corp. aid agency (Raj Kumar and John Hewko, Washington Post)

Those in Washington who work in global development speak in hushed tones nowadays, worried that after 10 years of bipartisan support for U.S. foreign assistance, foreign aid is about to be front and center on the debt commission’s chopping block. Nowhere are the concerns greater than at the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), an innovative creation of the George W. Bush administration that is in an unusual position for a government agency: It has not spent its money fast enough.

A New Pakistan Policy: Containment (Bruce O. Riedel, New York Times)

America needs a new policy for dealing with Pakistan. First, we must recognize that the two countries’ strategic interests are in conflict, not harmony, and will remain that way as long as Pakistan’s army controls Pakistan’s strategic policies. Offering Pakistan more trade while reducing aid makes sense. When we extend traditional aid, media outlets with ties to the ISI cite the aid to weave conspiracy theories that alienate Pakistanis from us. Mr. Obama should instead announce that he is cutting tariffs on Pakistani textiles to or below the level that India and China enjoy; that would strengthen entrepreneurs and women, two groups who are outside the army’s control and who are interested in peace.

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Romney, Stressing Israel Ties, Hammers Obama on Foreign Policy (The Jewish Press)

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Influence Game: Romney adviser’s interests emerge (Stephen Braun, AP)

Some foreign policy experts who joined Mitt Romney’s campaign have lobbying and business backgrounds that could shape the advice they give to the Republican presidential candidate. Their interests include lobbying against cuts in U.S. aid to Pakistan and ties to defense companies with government contracts for cybersecurity, Navy shipbuilding and ballistic missile interceptors — all issues that Romney has cited in recent speeches.  One adviser works for a German bank that has promoted cap-and-trade programs to reduce pollution, which Romney said he now opposes.