The Clock Is Ticking

April 7, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s FY12 budget resolution passed the House Budget Committee late yesterday on a party-line 22-16 vote. More than 20 Democratic amendments were rejected. The budget resolution would fund the International Affairs Budget at $41 billion, a 27% cut from FY10 levels. The budget resolution will move to the House floor next week, where it will be subject to more amendments from Democrats and a proposal—to be released today–from the Republican Study Committee to reduce spending further. Meanwhile, President Obama summoned House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the White House for negotiations last night, but there has been no announcement on a budget deal for the rest of FY11. A government shutdown would begin midnight on Friday.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

Ryan budget would slash international affairs funding, increase defense spending (Josh Rogin, the Cable)

The long-term budget announced on Tuesday by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) would cut the budget for international affairs and foreign assistance by 29 percent in 2012 and 44 percent by 2016 — while increasing the defense budget by 14 percent over the same timeframe. “While everyone agrees we need to get our fiscal house in order, we must protect our national and economic security in the process,” said U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Chairman Dan Glickman. “Military leaders from General Petraeus to Admiral Mike Mullen are adamant that International Affairs programs are a critical part of our national security. These very deep cuts can hamstring our ability to effectively respond to the global challenges we face today.”

Why Congress shouldn’t slash foreign aid (Jim Kolbe & Connie Morella, the Daily Caller)

With a Congressional budget showdown all but inevitable, U.S. foreign assistance is once again on the chopping block. As two long-serving Republican former members of Congress, we believe the fiscal situation in this country demands bold action.

Dick Morris gets it wrong on America’s foreign aid (Norm Coleman, the Hill)

As America struggles with exploding debt and a still weakened economy, it’s important that we have an honest debate about our priorities. The commitments and obligations we make, as a nation, to our own citizens and to those in other parts of the world have to be scrutinized with the utmost seriousness.

Smart Power

U.S. is back in the ‘smart power’ game (Lewis M. Simons, USA Today)

Even as the United States is drawn willy-nilly into the accelerating civil war in Libya and as American soldiers continue to kill and be killed in Afghanistan, the Obama administration is reaching out quietly and thoughtfully to Muslims in another part of the world, seeking to overcome their inherent skepticism of U.S. motives.

Invest in African farmers to aid world food security (Max Greene, AlertNet)

Food production in Africa could be substantially expanded if financial backing for research and for small farmers can be improved, according to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Such changes would help reduce hunger and poverty in Africa and stimulate the growth of African businesses at a time when world food prices are rising because of population growth and demand for better food as people in countries like China and India move out of poverty.

New International Aid Figures Show Massive Shortfall Even as US Foreign Aid is on the Chopping Block (Kristina Field, Oxfam)

Faltering overseas aid figures announced today are depriving poor countries of a massive $18 billion worth of life-saving aid, at a time when 64 million more people globally have been pushed into poverty by the financial crisis, international humanitarian organization Oxfam warned.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Sen. Graham urges GOP presidential candidates to avoid isolationism (Josh Bennett, the Hill)

He urged GOP candidates to support foreign aid to Middle Eastern countries and said they should be ready to criticize President Obama if he fails to force Moammar Gadhafi to vacate power in Libya. Graham, one of his party’s most forceful voices on foreign policy, warned that presidential candidates will encounter a “war-weary” public that wants to troops to return from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Death panels for diplomacy: Why does Paul Ryan hate American leadership? (David Rothkopf, FP)

Congressman Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, deserves considerable credit for violating the “no leadership zone” that has seemingly been imposed on Washington without even benefit of a vote of the U.N. Security Council. His proposed 2012 budget is misguided in parts, inadequate in others and would be laughed out of any serious discussion about getting America’s fiscal house in order — if such a discussion were actually taking place in Washington.