The Budget Week Ahead

February 7, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

As House lawmakers return to Washington following a one-week recess, the budget process begins again in earnest. Tomorrow, House Republicans are expected to set enforceable spending limits for Fiscal Year 2011, and later in the week unveil their package to cut spending for the remainder of the year. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced last week his new discretionary spending cap, which is intended to reduce non-security spending to 2008 levels for the final seven months of the  current fiscal year. Also as soon as tomorrow, the House Appropriations Committee will adopt spending allocations for Fiscal Year 2011 that Chairman Harold Rogers (R-K) previewed last week. Rodgers will also introduce an extension of the current temporary resolution funding the government that will reflect Appropriations Committee cuts for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011. This resolution is expected to bypass the committee process and go directly to the House floor for action next week.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Karzai critical of aid bypassing Afghan government (Geir Moulson, Associated Press)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that channeling aid past his government undermines efforts to make it more effective, identifying NATO’s provincial reconstruction teams as one of his concerns. But he also renewed pledges to tackle corruption in Afghanistan, a key reason that organizations are reluctant to deal with the government directly.

Republican foreign policy “wolf” shows her teeth (Susan Cornwell, Reuters)

For years, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been busy lecturing world leaders over human rights abuses. Now that she is the new Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she has a chance to try to back up her muscular rhetoric with action.

US Still Undecided on Future of Aid to Egypt (Ma. Rizza Leonzon, DEVEX)

The U.S. government is resisting calls for suspending aid to Egypt, where protesters are pushing for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade regime. The U.S. should approach the issue with caution, U.S. Navy admiral Mike Mullen said amid pressure on U.S. government to suspend more than USD1.3 billion in military and development aid to Egypt.

Critics move to claw back millions from UN (Harvey Morris, FT)

Majority Republicans in the House of Representatives will introduce legislation this week to claw back tens of millions of dollars of US contributions to the UN, claiming that the money is misspent. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the new Republican chairwoman of the House foreign affairs committee and prime mover behind the proposed legislation, wants to curb US funding as a means to spur reform of the UN.

Smart Power

Military Aid to Egypt: A Critical Link (Haim Malka, The Huffington Post)

Calls in Washington to suspend military aid to Egypt are fueling an already blazing fire. Although a serious review of the $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Egypt is long overdue, raising the threat in the midst of a burning crisis is dangerous. The Egyptian military, the primary beneficiary of U.S. aid, will play a significant role in shaping the contours of the post-Mubarak system.

U.S. Investments in Health are Working — and Georgia Reminds Us We Must Sustain and Extend the Gains (Joel Lamstein, The Huffington Post)

Twenty years ago, the countries of the former Soviet Union declared independence. Since that time, many countries in the region have experienced what can rightly be described as a revolution in women’s health care. Thanks in large part to U.S. investments in the country of Georgia’s health sector, for example, maternity care has been modernized and families have been placed at the center of health care delivery systems.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Egypt diplomacy: White House races to keep pace with events put in motion by protests (Joby Warrick, The Washington Post)

All week, events in Egypt had churned so rapidly it was hard to keep up, even for a U.S. secretary of state who travels with a phalanx of BlackBerry-wielding aides. When Hillary Rodham Clinton departed Washington late Friday for a conference in Germany, the Egyptian capital was peaceful and the government appeared to be moving toward negotiations with protesters. By the time the plane landed Saturday, the fragile progress had stalled.

U.S. deeds don’t follow U.S. words on Egypt (Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post)

If you closed your eyes at the right moment during the security conference here on Saturday, everything suddenly melted away. The German luxury hotel vanished, replaced by cement walls and fountains. The northern European winter became a hot summer day along the Nile. Hillary Clinton, in a brown suit and gold necklace, morphed into Condoleezza Rice, in a gray suit and pearls.