The House Votes

August 2, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Last night, the House passed the compromise agreement to raise the debt ceiling by a bipartisan vote of 269-to-161. The Senate is scheduled to take up the compromise agreement this afternoon, where it is expected to pass. After approving the deal, Members will head back to their districts for the traditional August recess.

Must Reads

USGLC in the News

Panel Discusses Foreign Policy at Founders Inn (Amanda Morad, Regent University)

Hosted by Regent University, the USGLC sponsored a foreign policy discussion on national and economic security Wednesday, July 27, at The Founders Inn. Key military and business figures joined local leaders for a dialogue about the United States’ global engagement and its impact on Virginia families and businesses. Dr. M.G. “Pat” Robertson, founder and chancellor of Regent, offered welcoming remarks followed by a conversation with Lt. Gen. Pete Osman, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.); former U.S. Congressman from Virginia Honorable Tom Davis; Barry DuVal, President and CEO, Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, Vice President of Advocacy at World Vision USA. The panel was moderated by Emmy-award winning journalist David Brody.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Non-Pentagon Accounts Could Feel Brunt of Security Spending Cuts (Emily Cadei, CQ)

The caps on security spending in the proposed debt deal will force cuts in defense spending, but on a proportional basis the axe is likely to fall even more heavily on spending for foreign aid, homeland security and veterans. The deal would cap total security spending — which includes appropriations for the Defense Department, the State Department, foreign operations, military construction, the Homeland Security Department and the Veterans Affairs Department — at $684 billion in fiscal 2012 and $686 billion in fiscal 2013. With many lawmakers already up in arms over concerns the cuts will weaken U.S. defense capabilities, Capitol Hill is likely to turn to the other accounts that fall under the security rubric to stay under the spending ceiling.

U.S. to ease anti-terrorism rules to help Somali famine victims (Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post)

The Obama administration is moving toward easing anti-terrorism restrictions in Somalia that have hampered delivery of urgently needed aid to famine-stricken parts of the country, officials said Monday. Under current restrictions, U.S.-funded groups could face prosecution if they pay “taxes” or tolls demanded by al-Shabab on food shipments. Humanitarian groups say that has only added to the severe difficulties of working in southern Somalia, where al-Shabab has killed and threatened Western aid workers.

MCC and USAID Head-to-Head in House and Senate Foreign Relations Authorization Bills (Casey Dunning, CGD Blogs)

Over the past two weeks, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released separate Foreign Relations Authorization bills designed to guide the direction of and spending on U.S. foreign engagement in FY2012. The House bill, which was passed through committee, generally maintains FY2011 funding levels but places serious restrictions on funding and operations for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and USAID. The Senate bill generally adheres to the President’s FY2012 request and seeks to expand capabilities within MCC and USAID. Below is a head-to-head look at how the MCC and USAID fare in both Authorization bills.

Mullen: Despite deal, debt still poses the biggest threat to U.S. national security (Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post Blogs)

Just because there’s a deal to raise the federal debt limit doesn’t mean the United States is any safer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Tuesday. “I haven’t changed my view that the continually increasing debt is the biggest threat we have to our national security,” Mullen said during a meeting with reporters in Baghdad. It is “so important that the economy move in the right direction” in order to pay for more military spending, Mullen said at the time. “The resources that our military uses are directly related to the health of our economy,” Mullen said, noting that the $600 billion in interest on the debt in 2012 equaled “one year’s worth of defense budget.”