Negotiating the Numbers

October 5, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

The House yesterday passed the continuing resolution to fund the government through November 18 by a 352-66 vote.  This clears the way for negotiations to begin between House and Senate leaders over final FY12 appropriations levels.  Among other potential disagreements, negotiators will need to reconcile a $5 billion discrepancy between House and Senate State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bills as well as a $17 billion difference in Defense Appropriations bills.  House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Inouye (D-HI) have started work on an omnibus bill to pass most if not all of the FY12 appropriations bills at one time.

Must Reads

USGLC in the News

U.S. Continues to push for global development funding (Anjelica Tan, UPI)

Increased capital funding to multilateral development banks will promote economic prosperity and national security, witnesses told a U.S. House of Representatives committee Tuesday. “A large percentage of investment opportunities for the United States lie in the developing world”, said Mark Green, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania and senior director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. “For our job creators to be able to invest overseas, to invest overseas, there are certain foundational needs,” Green said, citing that investment in the World Bank is necessary for these efforts to be meaningful because there is a lack of transparency and rule of law in developing countries that U.S. investors shy away from.
Who’s in the News

Barbara Bush: Cutting foreign aid would have ‘enormous implications’ for US (Nicholas Ballasy, Daily Caller)

The Daily Caller asked Bush, currently CEO of Global Health Corps and a Population Services International board member, if the country should reduce aid to foreign countries to help close the $14.5 trillion national debt. “I think at the same time there’s enormous implications for the U.S. if we don’t continue the efforts that we’ve already started. If you think about the progress that’s already being made through USAID, through PEPFAR, through the president’s malaria initiative, through Millennium Challenge Corporation, there’s already been such great work done that we can already build off of what’s happened and it’s actually a really efficient, effective way to use our money.”


Smart Power

U.S. Foreign Health Investments Improve Lives Abroad — And Here at Home (Huffington Post-Mandy Moore, October 4)

When our country invests in global health, we are doing the right thing. When USAID — the agency tasked with representing American interests worldwide by improving lives outside of U.S. borders–succeeds, we all benefit. We invest less than 1% of the federal budget in strengthening the health and economic development in other countries, and we get incredible results. USAID works shoulder to shoulder with foreign governments and organizations like PSI to stamp out malaria, and, in 2009, they reached more than 50 million people through malaria programs. Last year, U.S.-funded programs that prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission meant that more than 114,000 infants were born HIV-free.

Grim Outlook for U.S. Foreign Aid (Council on Foreign Relations Blog-James M. Lindsay, October 4)

The looming cuts to the foreign aid budget will prompt a lot of hand wringing, much of it justified. We will see a spate of op-eds extolling the strategic benefits of foreign aid, and the White House will likely ask military officials to help make the case for foreign aid as a way to prevent problems and take pressure off the military. This outcry won’t have much effect, for a reason apparent in the story the Times article tells about Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), Chair of the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee, which oversees the foreign aid budget.

Food-Aid Model: No Easy Overhaul (Finlay Lewis & Jonathan Broder, CQ Weekly cover story)

With lawmakers struggling to shave the deficit, they could end up looking beyond mere spending levels on foreign aid. At issue could be the very structure of the American food-aid model itself. “If going forward, U.S. food aid is, in fact, a scare resource and not a means of commodity surplus disposal, which it was in the past, then it really is incumbent on Congress to make sure the program is given the opportunity to operate as flexibly as possible,” says John Hoddinott, a senior researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute.

US gives Ethiopia $121m for food aid amid drought (Associated Press, October 4)

A top U.S. aid official says the U.S. will donate more than $121 million to Ethiopia to fight food insecurity amid a drought in the East African nation. USAID director Raj Shah said Tuesday during a visit to Ethiopia’s capital that the U.S. will provide $110 million to a program that will benefit 1.5 million people. He says another $10 million will be spent on a nutrition program and $1.2 million given in loans to encourage farmers.

U.S. Senator urges Twitter diplomacy in Latin America (Jasmin Melvin, Reuters)

Social media tools on the Internet, which played a central role in the “Arab Spring” uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East, may be even more influential in Latin America, said Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The State Department should do more to help Latin American countries address shortfalls in infrastructure and know-how, particularly as economic competitors such as China compete with the United States for influence in the region, it said. “At a time when U.S. political influence is waning in the region, it is clear that U.S. driven technological trends could redefine relationships with many countries in Latin America,” the report said.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Lawmakers Work to Settle Spending Levels for 12 Appropriations Bills (Kerry Young, CQ)

The top House Republican appropriator said on Tuesday that he is optimistic negotiations with Senate Democrats on bill-by-bill fiscal 2012 spending levels will begin shortly, as lawmakers look to clear new spending law before Thanksgiving. Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he spoke with his Senate counterpart, Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, on Tuesday about how to allocate among the 12 annual spending bills the $1.043 trillion in discretionary spending available for fiscal 2012.

Wasting no time in blocking Palestinian aid (Washington Post Politics Blog-Mary Beth Sheridan, October 4)

It’s hard to pin down exactly how much aid is affected, since different legislators have targeted different pieces of the $500 million in annual U.S. aid. But it appears that both economic aid and support for the Palestinian security forces could be affected. The Obama administration is holding “intensive consultations” with Congress to try to unfreeze the money, said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “U.S. support for Palestinian institution-building is a vital piece of what we’re trying to do here,” she said Monday. “We’re trying to prepare the ground for a successful and stable peace. This money goes to establishing and strengthening the institutions of a future Palestinian state, building a more democratic and stable and secure region.”

Levin and McCain: Let’s not attack Pakistan just yet (Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy)

In the high-stakes poker game between Washington and Islamabad, “the new chip on the table is the fear in Pakistan that the U.S. could move beyond drone strikes” and start a wider air or land campaign to strike a blow against the Haqqani network, a senior official close to the issue told The Cable last week. We’re not going to allow these types of attacks to continue,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Sept. 16, after the Haqqani network was implicated in the armed assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. “But I don’t think we should put any boots on the ground,” Levin emphasized. He said that the United States should use economic aid as leverage and condition it on the Pakistani government’s willingness to sever ties with Haqqani, but that increased military action was not the answer.

Poll: 1 in 3 veterans say Iraq, Afghan Wars a waste (CBS News)

The poll results presented by the Pew Research Center portray post-Sept. 11 veterans as proud of their work, scarred by warfare and convinced that the American public has little understanding of the problems that wartime service has created for military members and their families. Pew said its survey results found “isolationist inclinations” among post-Sept. 11 war veterans. About 6-in-10 said the United States should pay less attention to problems overseas and instead concentrate on problems at home. In a Pew survey conducted earlier this year, a similar share of the general public agreed.

Panetta gently prods Egypt on democracy, accused spy (Craig Whitlock, Washington Post)

U.S. defense officials said Panetta’s primary mission during his brief stop in Cairo was to encourage Egypt’s military to move ahead with its commitments to hold parliamentary elections starting next month and gradually hand over power to a civilian government. Panetta said he also pressed Egyptian Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the chief of the ruling military council, to lift the state-of-emergency law that has largely squelched political activity in the country for three decades. The law gives the government blanket authority to arrest individuals and was used by Mubarak to stifle opponents. “I really do have full confidence in the process that the Egyptian military is overseeing,” he said. “I think they’re making good progress.”