The Senate Takes Action

March 17, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

The Senate is expected to pass today a three-week extension of the current Continuing Resolution (CR), which cuts an additional $6 billion in spending, including $17 million from the International Affairs Budget. The new CR extension will expire on April 8, giving Congressional leaders and the White House more time to work out a budget for the rest of FY 2011. The House passed the three-week extension on Tuesday; 54 Republicans, frustrated with the slow pace of discretionary spending cuts, voted against the CR extension.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

US foreign aid chief says proposed cuts would be ‘devastating’ to humanitarian assistance (AP)

Lawmakers argued bitterly Wednesday over proposed cuts to foreign aid that a top U.S. official warned would be “absolutely devastating” for America’s humanitarian assistance programs.

Clinton says no to second term (Wolf Blitzer, CNN)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer she does not want to serve a second term as secretary of state or run for president of the United States. Blitzer sat down with the former 2008 presidential candidate in Cairo.

Smart Power

House Appropriators Compare MCC to Other U.S. Aid Programs (Sarah Staats, CGD)

What does the MCC do differently from USAID? Why did the MCC finish its road project in Honduras while the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank are lagging? Why does MCC seem to be more successful?

Politics/Foreign Policy

House Hearing Shows Deep Divide Over US Foreign Aid Spending (Rolf Rosenkranz, DEVEX)

The Obama administration’s branding of foreign assistance as a “smart investment” in the country’s economic and national security has not convinced conservative Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, who yesterday continued to push for U.S. aid cuts at a hearing on next year’s funding.

Aid targeted for countries that ‘don’t like us’ (Seth McLaughlin, the Washington Times)

Seeking to shut off federal aid going to foreign countries that “don’t like us,” a Texas Republican congressman said Wednesday that lawmakers should vote separately on funding for every foreign nation receiving taxpayer money.

Bahrain Pulls a Qaddafi (Nicholas Kristof, NYT)

It is heartbreaking to see a renegade country like Libya shoot pro-democracy protesters. But it’s even more wrenching to watch America’s ally, Bahrain, pull a Qaddafi and use American tanks, guns and tear gas as well as foreign mercenaries to crush a pro-democracy movement — as we stay mostly silent.