New Committee Budget Numbers

February 4, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

With just over one week until the President releases his budget requests for Fiscal Year 2012, Capitol Hill is moving to complete the 2011 budget process. Yesterday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rodgers (R-KY) announced spending cut levels for each of the subcommittees, including State-Foreign Operations. The new total spending limit for this significant portion of the International Affairs budget is $46.9 billion, which is 4 percent below the FY 2010 level and 17 percent below the President’s request for FY 2011. The Appropriations Committee’s organizational meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday to adopt these recommendations.  In other news, if you missed our annual Tribute Dinner, featuring Bill Gates, Madeleine Albright and Tom Ridge, C-SPAN will air the full event tomorrow night, Saturday, February 5, at 8PM, and photos and video are also available on our website by clicking here.

Must Reads

USGLC In the News

Gates, Ridge, Albright stand up for foreign aid (Catharine Cheney, Politico)

Concerned that the foreign aid budget could be cut as Congress deals with a mounting fiscal crisis, influential voices from government and philanthropy are calling attention to the benefits of – and need for – “smart power.” Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates on Wednesday stressed the importance of foreign assistance at the annual U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Tribute Dinner.

Unlikely Alliance Supporting Foreign Aid Fights Together — For Now (Dan Froomkin, Huffington Post)

Foreign aid, be it F-16 fighter jets or anti-malaria sleep nets, falls into the same federal budget line-item. So it was an unlikely alliance of military industrialists and humanitarians gathering together Wednesday night to urge Congress not to cut back on what insiders call the “150 account.”

Bill Gates calls for sustained US foreign aid (Hilary Krieger, Jerusalem Post)

Bill Gates joined two former US secretaries is calling Wednesday for America to continue robustly funding foreign aid despite the economic difficulties at home. The pleas of Gates, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge come as the US contemplates steep cuts its budget amidst an economic crisis and newly minted members of Congress with backing from the Tea Party, much of which wants to see foreign aid cut.

Gates Presses Case for Foreign Aid (Philanthropy Today)

Pressing his case for the United States to maintain aid spending abroad, Bill Gates told Reuters Wednesday that the federal government should resist Republican demands to slash the aid budget. In a speech Wednesday to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, Mr. Gates said American aid to reduce disease and raise economic standards in the developing world helps stabilize poor countries that could become security risks and builds new markets for U.S. products.

Bill Gates (David Stegnon, BisNow)

Last night, we joined Bill Gates and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in honoring former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge at the Washington Ritz. Bill avoided any software talk but said that providing assistance to foreign countries can avoid serious security risks in the future, saying “That’s just good business.”

Smart Power

Putting fraud in global health spending in context (Michael Gerson, The Washington Post)

Digging in the garden of a health official in Mali, investigators discover more than 30 counterfeit “stamps” used to validate fraudulent invoices to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The inspector general of the fund reports serious corruption in the programs of four countries – Mali, Mauritania, Zambia and Djibouti.

Egypt and U.S. Development Aid: Is there a Lesson? (Nancy Birdsall – CGD)

Aid, like other interventions, can indeed make fools of us. Last year the United States provided some $1.3 billion to Egypt. Some would now say that aid was a mistake. But not providing aid, as we have done at various times in Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Pakistan when foreign policy dictated against doing so, may also have been a mistake.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Senators fear deficit focus will be roadblock to approval of Iraq funds (Josh Bennett, The Hill)

Some senators are worried that lawmakers will not go along with an increase to the State Department budget to pay for reconstruction efforts in Iraq given the renewed focus on cutting federal spending. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he sees an uphill fight to garner congressional support for America’s activities in Iraq, which will shift at year’s end from one led by U.S. troops to one run by diplomats and private contractors.

U.S. Foreign Service: on the front lines in Egypt (Michael Singh, Foreign Policy)

It is right and natural that we devote a great deal of time deliberating about the foreign policy and other implications of the events unfolding in Egypt. For Egypt, these events constitute a national crisis; for the United States, a foreign-policy crisis. But for many individuals, these events also represent a personal crisis.

The Failure of U.S. Aid in Egypt (David Rieff, The New Republic)

If you go to the website of the U.S. Agency for International Development  (USAID) and click on ‘Our Work,” you will find the following statement: “USAID works in agriculture, democracy & governance, economic growth, the environment, education, health, global partnerships, and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries to provide a better future for all.”