May 21, 2010

International Affairs Budget Update 5/21/10

1.     Momentum Building on Bipartisan Letter to Senate Appropriators
2.     Full Senate to Debate FY 10 Supplemental Next Week
3.     USGLC Holds Lobby Day for Congressional Appropriators
4.     USGLC Sponsors “World Trade Week” Briefing on Capitol Hill
5.     Senate Foreign Relations Committee Holds Haiti Hearing

1.     Momentum Building on Bipartisan Letter to Senate Appropriators

On Monday a bipartisan group of Senators—John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — began circulating a critically important letter calling upon Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) to support the President’s full $58.8 billion FY 11 request in the 302(b) allocations. As of press time, a total of 22 Senators have signed the letter – already 9 more Senators than signed a similar 302(b) letter last year.  The Chamber of Commerce, representing millions of American businesses, sent its own letter to all Senators urging them to support the President’s $58.8 billion International Affairs Budget Request and to sign the Kerry-Lugar-Durbin-Bond-Feinstein letter.

2.     Full Senate to Debate FY 10 Supplemental Next Week

The Senate is due to begin consideration early next week of the $59 billion FY 10 supplemental for the war, Haiti and disaster assistance passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. As detailed in last week’s Budget Update, the bill contains $6.1 billion in funding for the International Affairs Budget, including almost $2 billion for Haiti and several billion for the “Frontline States” of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Senate debate on the bill is likely to be lively and could take all of next week, as several Senators have said  they intend to offer  amendments on the floor.

3.     USGLC Holds Lobby Day for Congressional Appropriators

On Wednesday more than two dozen USGLC members participated in USGLC’s annual Appropriations Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, visiting nearly 40 members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to urge full funding of the President’s $58.8 billion FY 11 budget request.

At the Lobby Day Breakfast, participants representing a wide spectrum of USGLC’s membership (including Boeing, CARE, Mercy Corps, NEA, and Wal-Mart) heard from Sen. Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) chief foreign policy adviser, Chris Homan, about the budget challenges this year.

4.     USGLC Sponsors World Trade Week Briefing on Capitol Hill

This morning as part of World Trade Week, the USGLC hosted a breakfast briefing for congressional staff on the International Affairs Budget’s benefits for the U.S. economy and jobs. Hill staffers heard from USGLC Co-President Bill Lane, Washington Director – Governmental Affairs at Caterpillar, USGLC Board Member Nancy Ziuzin Schlegel, Director, Global Security Policy at Lockheed Martin and USGLC Board Member John Murphy, Vice President of International Affairs at U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The panelists highlighted the many ways the International Affairs Budget is integral to opening markets for American products and spurring job and economic growth both domestically and abroad.

5.     Senate Foreign Relations Committee Holds Haiti Hearing

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on May 19th on the current status of the U.S. relief and reconstruction effort in Haiti. Testifying were actor Sean Penn, who is currently running an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Haiti; T. Christopher Milligan, the USAID coordinator for Haiti; Kenneth Merten, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, and former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios and former Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider. The hearing discussed how the humanitarian effort in the country is moving into a new phase as the military withdraws most of its troops and the emphasis is placed on USAID and the State Department to reconstruct the country and put it on a path to development.