Senate Appropriations Releases Highlights of FY2011 CR: This is bad but HR 1 would have been way worse

Via the Senate Appropriations Committee, a press statement on the Highlights of FY 2011 Continuing Resolution:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Appropriations Committee released highlights of legislation filed today in the House of Representatives to fund the federal government through September 30, 2011.  The bill includes a separate division for the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense Appropriations Act. The final compromise legislation negotiated with the House of Representatives contains significant spending reductions, but protects the vital economic and security interests of the United States.  In total, the Continuing Resolution (CR) cuts $78.5 billion from the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 request and is $37.6 billion below Fiscal Year 2010.

The final legislation rejects the draconian cuts and onerous policy riders proposed in H.R. 1.  The reductions in funding levels agreed to in this bill will impact millions of Americans, and many good programs will suffer difficult cuts.  As these cuts must be implemented in just the remaining six months of the fiscal year, their impact will be especially painful in some instances.  However, the bill preserves critical programs that were targeted for cuts in H.R.1, including Head Start, Pell Grants, and vital scientific and medical research.  In keeping with the commitment Senate Democrats made earlier this year, no earmarks are funded in the bill.

Below are examples of programs that would have been seriously harmed by H.R. 1, undermining our economy and putting children and seniors at risk.  Under the bipartisan legislation negotiated by Congress and the White House, these crucial investments will continue. 

Protecting America’s Vital Interests Abroad

  • H.R. 1 would have cut funding for the Department of State and foreign operations by $3.8 billion below the FY10 enacted level (not counting $6.1 billion in supplemental appropriations much of which was for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq), and $3.3 billion below the CR agreement.  It would have caused serious harm to U.S. embassy and consular operations which millions of Americans who live, work and study abroad depend on every day, and to programs that directly protect U.S. national security and other important diplomatic and economic interests, and which provide life-saving aid to victims of disease, war and natural disasters.  At the H.R. 1 level, total funding for foreign operations for the world’s leading superpower would have fallen below a mere one percent of the Federal budget.
  • While the CR agreement will require a spending freeze for many diplomatic operations and foreign assistance programs at FY10 levels or below, unlike H.R. 1 it provides sufficient funds to enable the United States to continue to exert the global leadership the American people expect. 

What’s next? Here is from the House on Rule for the FY11 Full Year CR and how it works:

Debate and votes on these issues, put in the form of concurrent resolutions adjusting the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (known as “enrollment correction resolutions”), will be directly tied to final passage of H.R. 1473, the Department of Defense and Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act via the rule providing for its consideration. Here’s how it will work:

The rule provides for consideration of H.R. 1473 (the full year CR), H.Con.Res. 35 (defunding of ObamaCare), and H.Con.Res. 36 (defunding of Planned Parenthood). The House will debate and vote on each of these items separately. Because H.R. 1473 represents a final agreement akin to a conference report and the enrollment correction resolutions are straight up or down votes, debate will be limited and no amendments will be allowed on any of the three items.(italics added)

It’s important to note that the enrollment corrections must be passed by both the House and Senate to be effective; neither body can make the changes without the consent of the other. It’s also important to remember that as the originating body of H.R. 1473, the House ultimately has custody of the official papers and is responsible for enrolling and presenting the bill to the President for his signature.

Upon passage of each measure, the House will send to the Senate the final version of a House appropriations bill, H.R. 1473, and the two enrollment correction resolutions.

  • If H.Con.Res. 35 and H.Con.Res. 36 also pass the Senate, the House Clerk will add the language in the resolutions as “corrections” to the final enrolled version of H.R. 1473.
  • If the enrollment correction resolutions do not pass the Senate, they will not be added to the final version of H.R. 1473 and it will be enrolled and sent to the President.
In order to ensure timely consideration of all three items, the rule will direct the Clerk of the House to refrain from finalizing the enrollment H.R. 1473 until the Senate holds votes on H.Con.Res. 35 and H.Con.Res. 36. The order and timing of the votes on all three items in the Senate will be determined by leadership of that body.

 

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SFRC Clears Gration, Patterson, Gavin, Shear, Johnson Cook, Tong, Also Clears Nominees to UNGA and WHO

The following executive nominations were cleared yesterday, Apr 12, 2011 by the Committee on Foreign Relations as reported by Mr. Kerry. Nominations will now go to the full Senate for a vote.

KENYA

Jonathan Scott Gration, of New Jersey, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Kenya.

TURKMENISTAN

Robert Patterson, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Turkmenistan.

BOTSWANA

Michelle D. Gavin, of the District of Columbia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Botswana.

VIETNAM

David Bruce Shear, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

STATE DEPT/Religious Freedom

Suzan D. Johnson Cook, of New York, to be Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, vice John V. Hanford III, resigned.

STATE DEPT/APEC

Kurt Walter Tong, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as United States Senior Official for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum.

UNGA

Joseph M. Torsella, of Pennsylvania, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador.

Joseph M. Torsella, of Pennsylvania, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations, during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

WHO

Nils Maarten Parin Daulaire, of Virginia, to be Representative of the United States on the Executive Board of the World Health Organization, vice Joxel Garcia.

Update: (thanks JL)
Before you get all excited, enter Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) via http://twitter.com/GrahamBlog. 

Graham — No nominations go forward in Senate until we address CHS port. #scpol #sctweets #scports     12:37 PM Apr 12th  via Twitter for BlackBerry® 

Graham — Our provision was not an ‘earmark.’ It applied to a dozen ports across the US. #scport #scpol     12:32 PM Apr 12th  via Twitter for BlackBerry® 

Graham — 260K jobs in SC tied — directly and indirectly to operation of Port.    
12:24 PM Apr 12th  via Twitter for BlackBerry® 

Graham — Unfortunately, our language to allow Army Corp to begin CHS harbor deepening study was not included in CR. #scpol #scports    
12:22 PM Apr 12th  via Twitter for BlackBerry® 

 

Can you hear what I hear?  Senate hold and jam, coming up!

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Officially In: D. Brent Hardt to Georgetown

Tractor in rice field, Guyana Tractor_in_field...Image via WikipediaOn April 5, President Obama announced his intent to nominate D. Brent Hardt to be Ambassador to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. The WH released the following brief bio:

D. Brent Hardt is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.   Mr. Hardt previously served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas and at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.  Prior to that, he served as Team Leader for NATO Policy in the Office of European Political and Security Affairs in the Department of State and as Political-Economic Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.  Mr. Hardt joined the United States Foreign Service in 1988, and served as a Consular Officer in Barbados, Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany during German unification, and Political-Military Officer at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, where he also served as an exchange diplomat in the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Hardt earned a B.A. in History from Yale University, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

The US Embassy in Guyana has not had an ambassador since 2009 when Ambassador Jones was posted there.  Sometime in early summer 2009, Karen Williams became Chargé d’Affaires and was in that capacity until summer of 2010.  In fall 2010 Thomas Pierce assumed command as Chargé d’Affaires, a.i .

The Historian’s Office at State actually listed two US ambassadors to Guyana, with the same appointment date but different dates for the presentation of credentials which cannot be right. Ambassador Jones was in Guyana from 2008-2009 which is not the normal tour of duty for career appointees. There is a small item online from 2009 that talks about his early departure due to threats received but we could not confirm that.

John Melvin Jones (1944-)
Foreign Service officer
State of Residence: Maryland
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Guyana)
Appointed: June 30, 2008
Presentation of Credentials: October 8, 2008

Asif J. Chaudry (1956-)
Foreign Service officer
State of Residence: Washington
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Guyana)
Appointed: June 30, 2008
Presentation of Credentials: September 24, 2008


If confirmed, Mr. Hardt would take over from career diplomat, Thomas C. Pierce who was assigned to Georgetown, Guyana as the Deputy Chief of Mission and has served as the Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. since 2010.

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Officially In: Geeta Pasi to Djibouti

US Navy 071127-M-3095K-042 Brig. Gen. Ronald L...Image via WikipediaOn April 5, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Geeta Pasi to be Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti.  The WH released the following brief bio:

Geeta Pasi is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as the Director of East African Affairs in the Africa Bureau at the Department of State.   Prior to this assignment, Ms. Pasi served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy Dhaka from 2006-2009.   Other overseas assignments have included: Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt; Political Military Officer at Embassy New Delhi; Political Chief at Embassy Accra; Human Rights & Consular Officer at Embassy Bucharest; and Political & Economic Officer at U.S. Consulate Douala.   In Washington, Ms. Pasi served as Desk Officer for Afghanistan and for Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.  She also served as a Line Officer in the Executive Secretariat. 

Ms. Pasi received her B.A. from Duke University and a M.A. in French Studies from New York University.

If confirmed, Ms. Pasi would succeed career diplomat, James Swan who was sworn in as Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti on October 3, 2008.  

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Officially In: Donald W. Koran to Kigali

The mountain gorilla is Rwanda's leading touri...Image via WikipediaOn April 5, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Donald W. Koran to be Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda.  The WH released the following brief bio:

Donald W. Koran is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and currently serves as the Director for the Office of Africa Analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the U.S. Department of State.   Since joining the Foreign Service in 1984, Mr. Koran has held numerous assignments at the Department, including Division Chief for Western and Southern Africa in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Deputy Chief of Mission for Niger, and Deputy Chief of Mission for Rwanda.    Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Koran was a Visiting Professor at Tulane University.  He also served as a Staff Economist for the Federal Trade Commission and Director of Research for the National Cable Television Association.  

Mr. Koran received his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and earned a M.A. and PhD in Economics from Johns Hopkins University.


If confirmed, Mr. Koran would succeed career diplomat, W. Stuart Symington (grandson of the US Senator by the same name) who was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate as Ambassador to Rwanda in August 1, 2008.

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