November 29, 2014

Whew! Last Minute Negotations Produce 2011 Budget

The smoke has finally cleared and the long contested battle to establish a federal budget for 2011 is over. With only hours to spare, government shutdown was avoided and a budget for the remainder of the year was passed. While staffers and federal workers are probably still recovering from a week of no sleep, lets take a minute to hash out what the new budget entails... Federal spending will reduce by $38 billion for the remainder of FY2011 The State Department took a massive hit of $8 billion, most of which comes from its … [Read more...]

New Budget Increases for US Foreign Assistance and EPA!

The latest and final budget negotiations between Republicans and Democrats have favored U.S. foreign assistance! Rather than reduce the budget for the State Department and USAID, both parties agree that these budgets need to be increased for the remainder of 2011. Although the new budget will not be made official until next Friday April 8th, political analysts in Washington predict that hundreds of millions will be added to the USAID budget and nearly an addition $1 billion to the State Department. What caused such a change of heart? Some believe it’s … [Read more...]

8 Days Until Government Shutdown – Both Parties Refuse Another Short-Term Bill

With 8 days and counting until another potential government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats have once again begun negotiations on the federal budget for the remainder of 2011. This time however both parties have made it clear that no short-term spending bill will be passed. This means if no final compromise is made by April 8th, the government WILL shutdown. To bring everyone up to speed on the debate I’ve provided a list of the key players and their role in the ongoing budget battle… Tea Party – budget hard-liners. Yesterday held a rally outside … [Read more...]

Government Shut-down Averted… Again

The current continuing resolution that has dictated the federal budget for the last few weeks will expire this Friday. In preparation, House Republicans have drafted a new three-week stopgap bill (A.K.A. continuing resolution) to keep government from shutting down. The new resolution will be introduced by the House Tuesday, then move to the Senate for approval, and finally to President Obama to sign into action before Friday. The new measure will cut an additional $6 billon from existing programs. Some of the major reductions include… $1.74 … [Read more...]

To Avoid Government Shutdown, President and Congress Negotiate Spending Cuts

In the initial stages of the budget debates, both the President and House Republicans stood firmly opposed on the budget. House Republicans want $61 billion in cuts by the end of fiscal year 2011 (Sept 30). President Obama immediately took a hard stance claiming such cuts would put an end to economic recovery and raise unemployment. Negotiations have not been easy; a series of short-term budget extensions have ensured no government shutdown, but these extensions will end March 18th. If no budget is agreed upon for the rest of 2011 and for 2012 in the … [Read more...]

Take Action to Save U.S. Foreign Aid!

President Obama, has proposed spending $47 billion in 2012 for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). This is the money the U.S. spends on programs to fight poverty, empower women, ensure US security, fight disease, promote economic development and more. In an effort to reduce the Federal deficit, House Republicans have proposed to reduce funding spent on international affairs (i.e. USAID and State Department) for the remainder of 2011 by 19%. Even worse, the House has threatened further reductions that would … [Read more...]

Valentines Day 2011 – The Heartbreak Budget Battle Heats Up

This year Valentines Day in Washington is not about heart shaped candy and bouquets but rather fiscal budgets, continuing resolutions  and the ongoing battle between the White House and Republican majority Congress over establishing a federal budget. Already half way through fiscal year 2011, neither side has been able to reach an agreement on government spending. As a result, the Federal government is on it's second continued resolution (a type of appropriations legislation used by congress if no formal budget has been signed by the end of the fiscal … [Read more...]

Republican Majority Taking Stance on Cutting Foreign Aide

The recent slew of political unrest throughout Middle Eastern countries like Yemen, Tunisia, Jordan and most notably Egypt, are great examples for understanding the unpredictable need of U.S.  foreign assistance. While aid from the US creates economic growth, increases public health initiatives and ensures global security, aid is also commonly used as a tool for ensuring US interests are protected abroad. The United States has provided aid to countries in the Middle East for years, largely in the hopes of ensuring peace and security. This effort … [Read more...]

Total Water Consumed…by my Clothes?

When you first think about businesses ‘going green’, what usually comes to mind? Probably the auto industry, energy manufacturers and other producers of industrial goods. How about the fashion industry? That’s right, nowadays even clothing designers are thinking of innovative ways to produce clothing with less waste. The latest issue of Time magazine contains an article titled Green Jeans, that focuses on famous jean manufacturer Levi and its new pair of 501 denim Water<Less jeans. You can read the entire article yourself by clicking here. According … [Read more...]

Reflections on USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah’s January 19 Speech

This past wednesday myself and AIDemocracy Health Intern Sarah Davey went to see administrator of the United States Department of International Development (USAID) Dr. Rajiv Shah give a speech hosted by the Center for Global Development. The United States, and USAID in particular, have long been criticized for not providing enough foreign aide and of that given being highly inefficient.  Dr. Shah's speech was therefore designed to alleviate these concerns and highlight some major new changes happening within the agency. These proposed changes begin … [Read more...]