Shutdown Averted

September 27, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

The Senate last night passed two measures in an effort to avoid a government shutdown when FY11 ends at midnight this Friday.  The Senate passed an amended FY12 continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through Nov. 18 as well as a short-term CR providing funding through Oct. 4.  The House will hold a pro-forma session this Thursday and is expected to pass the week-long measure.  The one-week CR eliminates any FY11 disaster funding, which was the sticking point with the House over offsets to pay for that funding. The Senate’s six-week CR, which funds the government at the $1.043 trillion limit set by the August budget deal, includes $2.65 billion in FY12 disaster funding and no offsets.

Must Reads

Who’s in the News

Kirk: Eliminate military aid to Pakistan (Justin Sink, The Hill)

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who sits on the Senate subcommittee responsible for international aid, argued that military assistance to Pakistan should be eliminated in light of an attack Monday on a CIA office in Afghanistan that left one American dead.

Smart Power

As U.S. Military Leaves Iraq, U.S. Diplomats Fill In (Yochi J. Dreazen, The Atlantic)

A Jan. 31 report from the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, for instance, estimated that the State Department will spend $25-$30 billion in Iraq over the next five years. The panel said that U.S. diplomatic operations in Iraq in fiscal year 2012 will spike to at least $3 billion, roughly a quarter of the State Department’s global operations budget. Other State initiatives here – like the large and growing Office of Security Cooperation–will push the fiscal 2012 numbers even higher.

Small Factories Take Root in Africa (Peter Won Acott, The Wall Street Journal)

Across Africa, scores of tiny manufacturers have been going where most multinationals fear to tread. They not only make chocolate in Madagascar, but also leather shoes in Nigeria and hot sauce in South Africa. They’re testing whether a continent with the highest share of unexploited resources in the world, and the lowest per-capita income, can be fertile terrain for industry. “For decades, Africans have produced what they do not consume and consumed what they do not produce,” says Andrew Rugasira, a Ugandan entrepreneur. Two years ago, his company, Good African Coffee, broke ranks with local bean exporters to open the country’s first instant-coffee plant.

‘Smart Aid’ Boosting African Economies (Geoffrey York, The Global Exchange)

African countries, often seen as heavily dependent on foreign aid, are among those that are dramatically cutting their reliance on foreign aid as they strengthen their economies and their state revenue. Ghana, for example, has cut its aid dependency from 46 per cent of government expenditure to just 27 per cent in the past decade. Mozambique has slashed its aid dependency from 74 per cent to 58 per cent in the same period, and Rwanda has reduced its aid dependency from 86 per cent to 45 per cent.

Foreign Aid and Lousy Choices (James M. Lindsay, Council on Foreign Relations)

The solution might seem obvious: get out of Afghanistan, cut off aid to the Pakistani military, or possibly both. But a sharp drawdown in U.S. forces in Afghanistan could mean turning much of the country over to the Taliban, and a complete withdrawal could mean the collapse of the Karzai government. As for slashing U.S. military aid to the Pakistanis, Kaplan points out that “if the aid is cut off, the [Pakistani] support for militants may well intensify.”

When Stretching a Dollar Means Saving a Life (Muhammad Yunus and Gro Brundtland, Huffington Post)

As leaders gathered in New York last week for the United Nations General Assembly, much of the discussion focused on how to do more with limited resources. Aid from wealthy countries to fight disease and poverty in the developing world has saved countless lives over the past decade. But in these hard economic times, we cannot blindly rely on donor governments to endlessly reach into their budgets to give more. Rather, we must think creatively about new ways to financially support global health and development goals.

Fighting Cervical Cancer With Vinegar and Ingenuity (Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times)

Every year, more than 250,000 women die of cervical cancer, nearly 85 percent of them in poor and middle-income countries. Decades ago, it killed more American women than any other cancer; now it lags far behind cancers of the lung, breast, colon and skin. Nurses using the new procedure, developed by experts at the Johns Hopkins medical school in the 1990s and endorsed last year by the World Health Organization, brush vinegar on a woman’s cervix. It makes precancerous spots turn white. They can then be immediately frozen off with a metal probe cooled by a tank of carbon dioxide, available from any Coca-Cola bottling plant.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Senate deal averts shutdown (David Rogers, Politico)

Beginning to climb out of the hole they dug for themselves, House and Senate leaders agreed Monday night to take a series of steps intended to keep the government funded past Friday and defuse what’s become a partisan, even institutional fight over budgeting for disaster aid. The new plan — which won prompt Senate approval on a series of floor votes — relies on enacting a short-term spending bill to keep agencies funded into early next week and having both parties put aside their differences on 2011 disaster funds since the fiscal year is almost over in any case.

Huntsman hits Perry on foreign policy (Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy)

GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is going after Gov. Rick Perry for his flub of a foreign policy question during last week’s debate. In a new video titled, “Foreign Policy Experience: It shows,” the Huntsman campaign juxtaposed Perry’s rambling answer at last week’s debate to the question of what he would do if told the Taliban had gained control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons with Huntsman’s answer to the same questions on Michael Smerconish’s radio show today.

Romney: US foreign policy must align with ally Israel without exception (Associated Press)

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says there can be no differences between the United States and its ally Israel in its posture in the Middle East. Romney and other GOP candidates on Thursday criticized President Barack Obama’s administration and posture toward Israel. He says that Obama has disrespected its closest friend in the Middle East and has been unclear in its broader policy in the region.