Today’s News

May 5, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Who’s In the News

US foreign assistance needs further reform (Jim Kolbe, David Beckmann, and George Ingram – Roll Call)

Recent budget battles in Congress have made it seem as though we have to choose between continuing or abandoning this leadership because of America’s real and pressing deficit issues. But the facts tell a somewhat different story.

Bipartisan agreement on mothers (Bill Frist and Jon Corzine – The Hill)

As we honor our moms on Sunday, let’s honor motherhood itself by giving all moms the gift they want most — the chance to deliver and raise healthy children. Worldwide we lose about 1,000 mothers and more than 22,000 children under the age of 5 every day, a daily death toll on par with the recent Japanese disaster repeated day after day. But we can act now to save tomorrow’s mothers and children.

Smart Power

Rethinking US aid to Middle East (Sarah Margon – Politico)

Maintaining a sustained dialogue with a broad range of actors is a common-sense approach that will ensure U.S. foreign assistance is grounded in the needs of those we intend to support – and doesn’t just reflect our own assumptions. Engaging beyond embassies and government officials can help bolster genuine efforts at political reform. It can also help reshape U.S. foreign policy so it more clearly embraces the core principles on which this country was founded, and with which these reformers seek change.

Five steps to making our aid more effective and save more than $2 billion (John Norris and Connie Veillette – Center for American Progress)

Most Americans wildly overestimate foreign aid as a percentage of the federal budget, which makes it unsurprising that U.S. foreign aid programs once again find themselves at the center of the debate as the budget battles heat up in Washington.  Policymakers are seemingly divided into two camps: those who want to deeply cut foreign aid and those who want to maintain spending levels and make programs work more effectively.  But there is a third way that makes a great deal of sense. It saves taxpayers billions of dollars and will make aid programs more effective and more likely to produce lasting results.
Politics/Foreign Policy
Kay Granger questions Hillary Clinton on Pakistan aid (Jake Sherman – Politico)

The Republican in charge of doling out foreign aid wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing “grave concern” over cash payments to Pakistan and asked they stop. Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, who chairs a subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee responsible for foreign aid, is singling out $190 million in “assistance for flood victims through the Pakistan Citizens’ Damages Compensation Fund (CDCF).”
Clinton warns Syria over crackdown (Guy Dinmore – Financial Times)

Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has warned the Syrian government that it would face the “consequences” of its crackdown on protests and welcomed moves by the European Union to join Washington in imposing sanctions.  “We have to show the Syrian government there are consequences for this brutal crackdown imposed on the Syrian people,” Mrs Clinton told a news conference in Rome on Thursday.

Beyond Flowers for Mom (Nicholas Kristof – New York Times)

In a few days Americans will celebrate Mother’s Day with roses, chocolates and fine dinners, inducing warm and fuzzy feelings all around. But, in addition, I’ll bet helping mothers less fortunate would also render any mom giddy.