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House To Vote On FY11 Budget Bill, Senate Likely To Reject It

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said on Thursday that Republicans had reached an agreement with Democrats to reduce the the number of pending amendments to a bill that would fund the government through the end of the current fiscal year, CQ reports (Carter, 2/17). “A final vote on the 2011 budget measure may come as soon as today. It then would go to the Senate, where the Democratic majority is likely to reject the proposal, raising the prospect of a government shutdown,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Faler, 2/18).

Also on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “that he would not support even a temporary extension of government funding unless it included serious spending cuts, a position at odds with Senate Democrats,” according to a second CQ article (Goldfarb/Friel, 2/17). “When we say we’re going to cut spending – read my lips – we’re going to cut spending,” Boehner said during his weekly news conference, National Journal reports (House, 2/17). “House Republicans and Senate Democrats have different ideas about how to fund the government through Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends. The House bill would cut funding by $61 billion, compared with fiscal 2010, while Senate appropriators are writing legislation that would freeze discretionary spending at fiscal 2010 levels,” CQ notes (2/17).

News Outlets Examine Reactions To Proposed Foreign Aid Budget Cuts

NPR’s Morning Edition features an interview with Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, who was a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush. Gerson recently returned from a trip to Senegal and describes why he does not support the GOP’s proposed budget cuts to foreign aid.

“These cuts in discretionary spending, you know, are not the problem. … [W]e don’t have a deficit crisis because we spend too much money on bed nets and AIDS drugs. We have a deficit crisis because we have entitlements, and aging population, and health cost inflation. And by pretending that you can solve our deficit problem with cuts like these, which are both irrelevant and destructive, you’re actually subtracting from our seriousness on the deficit issue,” Gerson said in response to a question about the proposed cuts to global health programs (Inskeep, 2/17).

In a VOA News article about aid organizations’ concern over the impact the proposed budget cuts could have on the world’s poor, Jodee Winterhof, vice president of policy and advocacy for CARE, said: “The International Affairs Budget, in general, is absolutely critical to fighting extreme poverty and hunger and helping at least a billion people around the world who are struggling to survive on less than a dollar a day.”

Winterhof noted the recent food price spikes affecting some regions and said, “[T]hese conversations about cutting programs that really do support and sustain families … is in my opinion a dangerous conversation to be having and really will pose some intense challenges” (DeCapua, 2/17). 

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.