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Senate Budget Committee Approves FY 2011 Budget Resolution With Cuts To Foreign Aid

The Senate Budget Committee has approved a budget resolution that adheres to President Barack Obama’s “proposal to freeze non-defense spending, then goes a bit further” with cuts to “the State Department and other international programs,” the Washington Post reports (Montgomery, 4/23).

Politico reports that Budget Committee Chair Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) “has caused some ripples by recommending a $4 billion cut from … Obama’s 2011 request for foreign aid” (Rogers,
4/22). Conrad said in a statement (.pdf), “This plan is fiscally-disciplined when it comes to spending. It freezes non-security discretionary spending for three years and enforces those levels with spending caps” (4/22).

According to the Associated Press, “the annual budget resolution is a nonbinding resolution – not a law requiring the president’s signature – that sketches out a fiscal blueprint for the country. Actual changes to spending or tax policy, however, require follow-up legislation” (Taylor, 4/22).

Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog writes, “[t]he budget request still has many twists and turns to go through before it finally comes out on the other side of the legislative process. The House appropriations committee is expected to mark up its appropriations bill in May” (Rogin, 4/22).

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry (D-Mass.) in a statement about the budget resolution called the foreign aid cuts “an enormous mistake.” Kerry continued: “These funds have saved millions of lives through life-preserving drugs for HIV/AIDS, mosquito nets to prevent malaria, and other proven programs. In this difficult budget climate, we all have to make tough choices, but the international affairs account is a smart, cost-effective investment that should be funded appropriately. Short-changing these programs delivers very little budget relief at enormous cost to our global efforts and America’s leadership in the world” (4/22).

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