The Start of a Big Week

April 4, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

With the current Continuing Resolution for FY 2011 set to expire this Friday, April 8, budget negotiations continue to dominate the agenda on Capitol Hill and the threat of a government shutdown continues to grow.  House and Senate negotiators and the White House have yet to reach a solid agreement on the level of discretionary spending cuts.  Last week, Democrats and Republicans appeared to have reached a tentative budget deal on FY 2011 that would cut $33 billion for the year (a compromise from the $61 billion in cuts passed by the House in February), but these numbers remain in flux as Republicans press for further cuts.  It is unclear how exactly the International Affairs Budget will be affected, but it still remains threatened by deep cuts, such as those in H.R. 1.  Tomorrow, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) will release the details of his FY 2012 budget resolution, which is expected to reduce projected deficits by more than $4 trillion over 10 years.  Markup of Ryan’s budget resolution will occur on Wednesday.

Must Reads

Who’s In the News

USAID Administrator: GOP Bill Could Kill 70,000 Kids (Kirit Radia, ABC News)

According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, which lobbies to increase funding for international affairs, the Republican budget proposal would cut funding for global health programs by 11 percent, including a reduction in money for the Global fund for HIV/AIDS by 43 percent. The group says that would mean 5 million children would not receive malaria treatments and about 43,000 would not receive tuberculosis treatments.

Republicans slam Obama’s strategy of contractors in Iraq, limits in Libya (Tim Devaney, Washington Times)

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday that the Obama administration’s plan to replace troops in Iraq with private security contractors — what the South Carolina Republican referred to as a “mini State Department army” — puts hard-won American progress in that country at risk. “The State Department has come to Congress and said, ‘We’re going to need over 50 mine-resistant vehicles. We need a fleet of helicopters and thousands of private security guards. I think that is a losing formula,” he said in an appearance Sunday on CBS‘ “Face the Nation.”

Republican Representative Blasts ‘Hype, Speculation’ Over Decreased US Aid Spending’s Effects (Ma. Rizza Leonzon, DEVEX)

In a statement sent to Thursday (March 31), Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) said: “Nearly every administration witness appearing before the Appropriations Committee has put forward nightmare scenarios and dire numbers to argue why we should not be reducing spending in any program.”

Smart Power

Bangladesh Goes Backward (Shamsher Chowdhury, Wall Street Journal)

At a time when Congress is considering cutting back U.S. foreign assistance and scrutinizing America’s commitments abroad, Bangladeshis have reason to worry. Bangladesh is an important partner of the U.S. in South Asia, and it receives significant development aid.

The rise of the centre-right: How should development NGOs respond? (Stephen Hale, the Guardian)

The centre-right dominates the global governing class in the north. Europe has right-wing presidents or prime ministers in 21 of the EU’s 27 member states. Canada is led by the right, though now preparing for a general election. Barack Obama’s election in the US bucked the trend, but the Republicans and indeed the Tea Party now exert very strong influence over US policy following recent elections.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Development’s Next Top “Model”: China? India? Rwanda? Ghana? (Nancy Birdsall, CGD)

In a recent piece published in Foreign Affairs, Francis Fukuyama and I argue that, post global economic crisis, we are witnessing a shift away from the Western free-market or neo-liberal economic model in the developing world.

Can we spread democracy? (Ben Barber, Kansas City Star)

The crowds screaming for the downfall of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc. all shout out the same magical mantra: We want Democracy. And the United States has been pushing — since the time of John F. Kennedy and before — to support similar aspirations for democracy — in Western Europe and Japan after World War II; in the failed but well-intentioned efforts to block communism from South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos; in foreign aid to the former Socialist bloc after the collapse of communism; and in scores of Third World (Developing) countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

CNN Poll: Americans flunk budget IQ test (CNN)

Let’s start with international assistance. Sixty percent of people we questioned say they’d like to put foreign aid on the chopping block. So would that make a dent in the deficit? No — but try telling that to the American public. According to the poll, on average, Americans estimate that foreign aid takes up 10 percent of the federal budget, and one in five think it represents about 30 percent of the money the government spends.

GOP freshmen face big shutdown decision: fight or fall in line (Russell Berman, the Hill)

Each of the 87 House Republican freshmen faces the same choice heading into the climactic week of the 2011 budget battle — to fight or fall in line. The freshman class, vaunted for its unprecedented size and its Tea-Party ties, has been caught between party leadership nudging it toward compromise on one end and anti-spending activists clamoring for a clash on the other.

Doctors Go Far Afield to Battle Epidemics (Celia Dugger, New York Times)

Dr. Young represents the surging interest of young Americans in combating the deadly epidemics ravaging the world’s poorest countries, fueled in part by the billions of dollars that the American government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations have poured into international health in recent years.