The Endgame Approaches

December 12, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Assuming no last-minute breakdown in negotiations, House and Senate Appropriations leaders are expected later today or early tomorrow to release a conference report for the FY12 omnibus appropriations package, which will include the State-Foreign Operations bill.  Both chambers hope to clear the measure before the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires Friday.  Whether the measure includes all nine FY12 appropriations bills is still unresolved.  Contentious policy riders in the Labor-HHS, Interior-Environment, and Financial Services bills may force leaders to fund those bills through a year-long CR instead.

Must Reads

USGLC In The News

Arguing Their Case (Dan Tuohy, N.H. Primary Column, Amherst Patch)

The Secret Life of Tom Griffith: The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College will co-host a National Security Forum on Friday, Dec. 16, with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni is scheduled to give a keynote address and WMUR’s Tom Griffith will moderate a panel of presidential campaign surrogates. It’s a breakfast event, with the program set to begin at 8:30 a.m.

Smart Power

AIDS program cuts cost lives (Etienne M. Melcher, Jackson MS Clarion Ledger)

The tensions are high in Washington, D.C., with balancing the budget and the threats for cuts to programs that matter are real. However, spending on poverty focused foreign aid is less than 1 percent of the entire budget and cutting programs like the Global Fund costs lives. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker should push for the funding level of $1.05 billion for the fund for FY2012.

Several U.S. embassies could start 2012 with no ambassador (Josh Rogin, The Cable)

At least five U.S. embassies could begin the New Year without an official ambassador at the helm, due to the ongoing feud between the State Department and the Senate over several ambassadorial nominees and secret Senate holds.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Negotiators close in on spending deal (David Rogers, Politico)

Working through the weekend, House-Senate negotiators substantially narrowed their differences over a $1 trillion-plus year-end spending bill shaped by the August budget accords but also a new brand of Republican earmarks — single-interest policy riders tailored to get conservative votes.  The House GOP has been a willing partner in some imaginative bookkeeping, in which off-budget overseas contingency funds are used to help cover an ever-greater share of the core defense and foreign aid costs.

Obama campaign buys Facebook ads knocking GOP hopefuls on Israel aid (Josh Lederman, The Hill)

President Obama’s reelection campaign has sponsored ads on Facebook knocking the leading Republican candidates for saying foreign aid to Israel should start at zero.

Former ‘Lost Boy’ aims to help villages in South Sudan (Mitch Mitchell, Ft. Worth Star Telegram)

South Sudan, the world’s newest country, gained its freedom in a January referendum after its people suffered through 21 years of war, famine, disease and death. But Gatjang Deng, a former Lost Boy of Sudan, said that many of the conditions that led to the referendum still exist. Deng, 34, has lived in Fort Worth for more than a decade, but he returned to his village of Old Fangak after the vote.