Senate Markup Tomorrow

September 20, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Tomorrow the full Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up its FY12 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill at 3:00 PM.  The bill provides $44.64 billion for non-war related programs, $5 billion more than approved by the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee in July.  Meanwhile, both the House and Senate continue to work to pass a continuing resolution by the end of the week to fund the government through November 18, but disagreement remains over whether to offset emergency funds for disaster relief.

Must Reads

USGLC In the News

Green: Don’t disengage abroad (Brian E. Clark,

Mark Green – who lived in Africa as a boy and whose father is from South Africa – said he supports efforts to rebuild the American economy and create jobs. But he reminded his audience that 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the U.S. borders.  “To grow our economy, we need to export,” he said, noting that the Chinese have made major inroads into Africa. He said that continent’s overall economy is growing at nearly 7 percent annually “and we aren’t the only ones who know it.”  Moreover, he added, the United States can be a force for good in the world. “We need engagement,” said Green, who served on foreign policy committees in Congress. “I’m doing all I can to encourage that.”

Smart Power

Foreign aid helps us, too (Lexington (KY) Herald Leader Editorial)

Sen. Rand Paul’s idea of paying for disaster relief in the U.S. by cutting aid to other countries is undoubtedly more popular with his constituents than it was with his colleagues. The Senate voted 78-20 last week to defeat Paul’s amendment that cut foreign aid to offset relief spending needed because of a string of natural disasters at home. Polls have long shown the average American thinks the U.S. spends too much on helping other countries. Polls also show the average American greatly overestimates how much that is.

The global power shift (Robert Samuelson, Washington Post)
Anyone who doubts the enormous shift in global power now under way should read World Bank President Robert Zoellick’s latest speech, given Wednesday at George Washington University. It’s sprinkled with facts and figures confirming massive changes.

Are New UN child health estimates good news? (Joy Lawn, Global Post)

Are new United Nations estimates on child mortality good news or bad? Both actually. Good news, because global child deaths continue to drop. Bad news, because that progress isn’t reaching all families around the world, and it isn’t reaching newborn babies as often as older children. Every year, 7.6 million children under 5 still die, almost all from preventable causes. Why is this? It’s not for lack of knowledge about what would save these lives. Nor is it for lack of technology. Saving a premature baby’s life, for example, can be as simple as teaching a mother how to wrap her newborn to her own bare skin, keeping the baby warm and properly breastfed. But too often, there is simply no one equipped to deliver basic lifesaving care to families who need it most. More than anything else, babies and children die for lack of frontline health workers.

Future of American Foreign Aid (WAMU 88.5, Kojo Nnamdi Show)
One year ago this week, President Obama elevated global development as a “core pillar” of U.S. foreign policy, alongside diplomacy and defense. But as Congress and the White House struggle to find billions to cut from the federal budget, some advocates worry Washington’s commitment to reducing global poverty is wavering.

Somalia bars foreign aid staff from rebel areas (Financial Times)
Somalia has banned foreign aid workers and journalists from entering areas controlled by al-Shabaab insurgents after members of a Turkish charity took food to famine victims in an area under the Islamist group, reports Reuters in Mogadishu. Nearly all aid agencies have already barred their expatriate workers from operating in Somalia as famine grips the country, because of the risk of kidnapping. Hardline militants linked to al-Qaeda control most of the south after retreating from the capital. However, Somali security forces briefly detained two Turks on Tuesday who went to an alShabaab area to deliver food to famine sufferers, and prevented others along with a group of journalists from doing so later in the week.

UK might withhold aid in global transparency push (David Stringer, Associated Press)
Britain might withhold future aid from countries that fail to detail how they spend international funds, a senior minister said ahead of talks Tuesday aimed at promoting government transparency. Francis Maude, Britain’s Cabinet Office minister, told The Associated Press that new conditions would be attached to parts of Britain’s 8.4 billion pound ($13.2 billion) annual aid budget to encourage openness in developing nations. British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to increase Britain’s overseas aid spending over the next four years, even as he drives through a deficit-shredding program of 81 billion pounds ($132 billion) of spending cuts.

Building a Safer Haiti (New York Times Editorial)
Post-quake Haiti is a dangerous place, as a new report from the International Crisis Group makes clear. Hundreds of thousands of displaced people still live in poorly policed camps where they fall prey to rapes, robberies and other violent crimes. Prison escapees have regrouped in urban slums; drug traffickers and armed gangs are back in business. Before the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s National Police force was weak, frequently abusive and plagued by widespread corruption. The quake destroyed police stations and prisons and stalled efforts to clean up and professionalize the force. Much of the security gap has been filled by the United Nations force, Minustah, whose latest one-year mandate expires next month. The Security Council should renew Minustah’s mandate, and the U.N. and the Haitian government should continue working together to build a competent, nonpolitical police force that can take over when Minustah leaves.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Obama’s busy foreign-policy week in New York (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

President Barack Obama turns to foreign policy this week with a trip to New York to attend the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly and hold meetings with world leaders, as the United Nations gears up for a showdown on Palestinian statehood.

WHO’s pricetag for fighting ‘noncommunicable diseases’: $11.4 billion a year (David Brown, Washington Post)
Millions of deaths from chronic illness and up to one-third of those from heart disease, the world’s leading killer, could be avoided or postponed if developing nations increased their health budgets by about 4 percent to put basic prevention measures in place. The package — which includes tobacco control, reduction of salt and fat in processed food, basic generic drugs for heart patients, screening for cervical cancer, and a few other measures — would cost less than $1 a year per person in the poorest countries and about $3 per person in richer ones. For the world’s 144 low- and middle-income nations, the investment would be at least $11.4 billion.

Obama’s fuzzy math on defense “savings” (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

The White House today adopted RepPaul Ryan’s dubious claim that winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would save $1 trillion over the next decade.

“The plan produces approximately $4.4 trillion in deficit reduction net the cost of the American Jobs Act,” the White House said in a fact sheet issued to accompany President Barack Obama’s new plan to cut the deficit. “$1.1 trillion from the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and transition from a military to a civilian-led mission in Iraq.” The more than $1 trillion in defense “savings” that the White House claims is based on a projection the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) put out last March, which found  that war costs would top $1.7 trillion over the next ten years. However, that projection was never meant to accurately forecast the costs of the wars over the next decade.

Perry to Slam Obama Over Policy on Israel (Associated Press)

Wading into a tense foreign policy dispute, Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is criticizing the Palestinian Authority’s effort to seek a formal recognition of statehood by the U.N. General Assembly. In a speech scheduled in New York on Tuesday, Perry pledges strong support for Israel and criticizes President Barack Obama for demanding concessions from the Jewish state that Perry says emboldened the Palestinians to seek recognition by the U.N.