Congress Approves Final FY11 Budget

Congress approved a final FY11 budget measure on Thursday, The Hill reports. “The House voted 260-167 to approve the legislation … The Senate signed off hours later on a vote of 81-19, sending the bill to Obama for his signature” (Berman, 4/14).

The president is expected to sign the bill into law, CQ notes. “Although the administration would not have agreed to many of these cuts under better fiscal circumstances, the bill reflects a compromise that will help the federal government live within its means while protecting those investments that will help America compete for new jobs,” the White House said in a statement (Carter/Lesniewski, 4/14). 

While funding for the “State Department’s overall 2011 international affairs budget” was cut significantly compared with President Barack Obama’s FY11 request, “humanitarian and development groups are expressing some relief at the final result given the current political climate,” Inter Press Service notes. “With respect to official development assistance (ODA) and funding for some multilateral agencies, overall cuts were not as great as many had feared. In fact, a bipartisan favourite, the global health accounts, which includes programmes for child survival, family planning, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, actually received a modest increase in funding over last year’s appropriation,” IPS reports (Lobe, 4/14).

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, two separate hearings examined the effects of possible State Department budget cuts under consideration for the FY12 budget, All Headline News reports. Members of Congress “were warned by diplomats and advocacy group leaders that reducing funding for humanitarian programs is likely to lead to animosity and violence toward the United States,” the news service writes.

“We believe that the International Affairs Budget requires strong funding because it is an essential part of our national security,” Dan Glickman, chair of U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), said before the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee. “America’s national security today is dependent not only on the deterrence of a strong military force but on increased investments in the full range of diplomatic, development and humanitarian tools,” he said.

In a hearing before the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, Daniel Benjamin, who coordinates counterterrorism for the State Department, also testified about State Department cuts (Ramstack, 4/14). 

In related coverage, the Guardian examines FY11 foreign aid cuts and looks at potential reductions for FY12. The piece features analysis from the USGLC and Oxfam America (Provost, 4/14).

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