Tag: US Congress


USAID Staffer Tracker Update: Legislative and Public Affairs Nomination

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After a whopping forty-four months, the White House nominated a USAID assistant administrator for legislative and public affairs yesterday. Chuck Cooper, if confirmed by the Senate, would move to USAID from a similar (though not Senate-confirmed) position at MCC. The kicker? The Senate is scheduled to recess at the end of next week until after the Nov. 6 elections. This leaves two big questions: will he be confirmed at all and if so, will he have time to make an impact?

HFAC Approves Authorization Bill, Minus That Pesky Foreign Assistance Part

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Yesterday the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) approved the FY2013 Foreign Relations Authorization Act that it hopes will be the first authorizing bill to pass Congress in a decade. The bill aims to provide direction and guidance to appropriators and the administration as they fund and execute U.S. foreign affairs. But before you pop your confetti canisters and congratulate HFAC on a bipartisan job well done, check the fine print.  The bill excludes foreign assistance—all of it.

The 112th Congress: A Perfect Storm for Aid Cuts, or a Perfect Opportunity for Reform?

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This post also appears on The Will and the Wallet.

It is exactly one week until the midterm elections that many pundits predict will change the political landscape for at least the next two years. For those who track budget matters, the question has become, what do the elections mean for development and diplomacy—the two Ds that with defense are the professed pillars of U.S. national security?

I won’t engage in prognostications on the number of seats either party will hold in the 112th Congress. Regardless of who wins, the international affairs—or 150—budget will be under enormous pressure. The foreign operations budget (the bulk of U.S. foreign assistance programs) is larger and likely more vulnerable to deeper cuts than the State operations portion.

The real question is whether an anemic economic recovery, a $1.3 trillion budget deficit and the House and Senate led by parties holding slim majorities will create the perfect storm to sink the momentum that has built up around development? Or will the confluence of events force real reform, to ensure we are getting the biggest bang for our development bucks?

MCC Thrown a Lifeline in FY09 Omnibus Bill

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Picture this. A guy falls off the deck of a cruise ship. The captain throws him a life saver but can't stop the boat. Everyone on the deck is yelling at him to do this and do that. The poor guys swims for his life just to grab onto the life saver. And there he floats waiting to see if the captain will ever reel him him. That poor guy is the MCC in the FY09 State and Foreign Operations section of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill (page 49).