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The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Foreign Aid
Clinton Announces Reprogramming of $150 Million of Aid to Egypt
February 17th, 2011 by Naureen
Following a classified meeting with senators, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. will reprogram $150 million for Egypt to help support the country’s democratic transition and assist with their economic recovery. She also announced that Under Secretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns and senior White House advisor on international economics David Lipton will travel to Egypt next week to consult with their Egyptian counterparts on how the U.S. can most effectively deploy our assistance in line with their priorities. During the meeting, government officials also discussed the lessons of events in Egypt and the Middle East, the need for the United States to remain fully engaged around the world, and the negative consequences of cuts in H.R.1, the continuing resolution on FY2011 funding,  will have on national security.  Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James E. Cartwright added, “Everybody sees the soldier out there in Iraq and Afghanistan, but with every soldier, there is an element associated with either the State Department, our diplomatic corps, USAID. And they’re absolutely essential.”
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Egypt, Foreign Aid | Comment »
Senate Appropriations Chair Criticizes House Continuing Resolution on FY2011 Funding
February 17th, 2011 by Naureen
On Tuesday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) released a statement and analysis of H.R.1, the continuing resolution to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year, that is being considered by the House this week. “The impact of H.R.1 on the ability of the federal government to perform even some of its most basic functions is, in many instances, severe,” Inouye states. He argues that the cuts prevent the government from living up to its duties enshrined in the Constitution and do little to address the long-term fiscal challenges facing the nation: “the reductions proposed by the House were not made because programs were ineffective or wasteful, but out of desire to meet an arbitrary dollar figure cited during a political campaign.” Inouye also cites specific examples of how the proposed cuts will “directly impact the ability of the government to meet its most vital obligations.” He states that cuts to State Department and USAID budgets will hinder U.S. ability to counter terrorism abroad.
Posted in Congress, Foreign Aid, Terrorism | Comment »
State Department Launches Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society
February 17th, 2011 by Naureen
Wednesday marked the launch of the U.S. State Department’s launch of Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.  Under Secretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns opened the event by stating: “In recent weeks, we have been awed by the power of committed citizens to effect change in their societies.  We’ve borne witness to a remarkable triumph of human spirit and human courage in Cairo and in Tunis. ”  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed his remarks and also expressed U.S. support for democratic change stating: “Our support for democracy and human rights is not about siding for or against either governments or citizens. This is about standing up for universal principles and for those in and out of government who support them.”  Clinton also discussed the use of diplomatic channels “to engage with civil society as a cornerstone of our diplomacy,” stating that “the transition to democracy is more likely to be peaceful and permanent when it involves both the government in power and the broad cross-section of the governed.”  She said that the Strategic Dialogue will focus on issues like governance, accountability, democracy, human rights and women’s empowerment.  USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah also discussed the agency’s new approach to development which prioritizes democratic governance and its desire to continue to work with and support civil society organizations.
Sherif Mansour, a prominent Egyptian activist, also made a statement calling for the U.S. aid package to Egypt to reflect the administration’s commitment to civil society.   He criticized the State Department for conceding to “pressure from the Egyptian government to cut down funds for democracy and to make it only available for government-approved NGOs.”
Posted in Civil Society, Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Egypt, Foreign Aid, Protests, Reform, Tunisia, US foreign policy | Comment »
POMED Executive Director Interviewed on the Role of MEPI in Egypt
February 16th, 2011 by Alec
POMED Executive Director, Stephen McInerney, was interviewed on Tuesday by Lisa Mullins on Public Radio International’s The World about the role of the United States’ Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) in funding Egyptian civil society groups and the influence this had on the protest movement.
For full audio, click here.  Download the mp3 here.
On democracy and governance assistance to Egypt in comparison to military aid:
“Proportionally, support for democracy assistance is in the neighborhood of 30 million dollars annually, through a variety of different accounts in Egypt, which is quite small.”
The role of MEPI funds on the protest movement:
“It has played some role in helping, kind of, support and sustain some of the young organizations that have wanted to be more politically active.”
“The protest movement is overwhelmingly indigenously Egyptian, and I think we would have definitely seen this protest movement emerge without any U.S. support or any U.S. involvement.”
“Some of the actors who have been involved with the protest movement have been more effective and more organized, connected, and networked than they might have been without our support.” 
Posted in Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Foreign Aid, POMED, US foreign policy | Comment »
More Amendments Proposed to Cut State and Foreign Operations Funding in the House
February 16th, 2011 by Kyle
By Monday evening, members of the House proposed their final amendments to H.R.1, the continuing resolution to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) proposed cutting funds appropriated to the president’s economic support fund by $200 million. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) called for cutting all funds for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, the Foreign Military Financing Program which includes grants to Israel, Jordan and Egypt,  as well as the International Security Assistance Funds appropriated to the president. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) called for an amendment which would condition economic aid to Egypt so far as “the new Government of Egypt fulfills its commitment to the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty signed on March 26, 1979, and to freedom of navigation of the Suez Canal.”
Posted in Congress, Egypt, Foreign Aid, Israel, Jordan, US foreign policy | Comment »
President and Foreign Aid Experts Lobby for Caution in Cutting Foreign Aid
February 16th, 2011 by Kyle
In response to the cuts that have been proposed for the budget of FY 2011 the Office of Management and Budget has stated: “If the President is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the President will veto the bill.” The House Republican leadership’s version would cut $11.7 billion, or 21 percent, from the president’s 2011 budget request for the State Department, USAID, and foreign operations, as well as $16 billion from the Defense Department’s fiscal 2011 request. House Appropriations State and Foreign Ops subcommittee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-NY) said on the House floor on Tuesday: “Despite broad agreement that U.S. national security is supported by a three-legged stool of defense, diplomacy, and development, this bill dramatically weakens diplomacy and development.”
Charles MacCormack​, President of Save the Children, offered support for foreign aid: “When times are tough, some say we should cut back on overseas initiatives and focus instead at home…In fact, when the United States invests in helping vulnerable children in poor countries grow up healthy and educated, it’s helping build a better and more secure world for American children as well.”
Posted in Congress, Foreign Aid, US foreign policy | Comment »
Members of House Propose Cuts to State and Foreign Operations in FY2011 Funding
February 15th, 2011 by Naureen
On Monday, members of the House proposed amendments to H.R.1, the continuing resolution to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year.  Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) proposed cutting all funding for the National Endowment for Democracy, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and all bi-lateral economic assistance for the Inter-American Foundation and the African Development Foundation.  Rep. Tom Reed  (R-NY) called for cutting all funds appropriated to the President’s Democracy Fund. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) proposed reappropriating all funding for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) to either low income home energy assistance, community development funds, state and local law enforcement assistance, community service employment funds, or transferring $18 million from USIP funds towards developing clean coal technology.  Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) proposed reducing USIP  funding by $17.6 million while Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Chip Cravaack (R-MN)  called for cutting all funding to USIP.  Cravaack  stated that ”the U.S. Institute of Peace’s goals are important and honorable. However, a number of other departments, agencies and non-profit organizations – many of which do not depend on the federal government for funding – can help achieve that goal. Given our current fiscal constraints, I cannot justify spending over $42 million on the Institute of Peace.”
Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) called for elimination of funding to the International Broadcasting Operations of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) proposed cutting funds for multilateral assistance funds allocated to the president for international organizations and programs.  Heller also called for reductions in U.S. contributions to the International Development Association, the Enterprise for the Americas Multilateral Investment fund, the African Development Fund, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.  He also called for cutting funds to the Global Environment Facility along with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO).
Additional amendments may be proposed until the House adjourns.
Posted in Congress, Foreign Aid | Comment »
USGLC Applauds Obama’s Proposed International Affairs Budget FY 2012
February 15th, 2011 by Kyle
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition recently commended the Obama administration’s proposed budget for International Affairs in FY 2012 as “a critical investment in America’s national security.” The USGLC goes on to state: “At a time of intense pressure to cut spending and in the context of an overall freeze on non-security funding, the President has presented an International Affairs budget that protects America’s security interests and maintains U.S. global leadership while also encouraging more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”
The USGLC listed the direct effects of the proposed international affairs budget cuts currently being debated in the House of Representatives: Jeopardize critical national security investments in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; reverse efforts of the Bush and Obama Administration to bolster civilian capacity and assume responsibilities that have been carried out by our military at a higher cost; diminish America’s ability to uphold its moral obligation by responding quickly and effectively to global disasters, such the Haiti earthquake last year; cripple the Feed the Future Initiative (a food security investment program); endanger lives (through reductions in global health spending); constrain U.S. leadership and limit the ability to leverage resources from other nations that address common global challenges.
For full USGLC report, click here.
Posted in Civil Society, Congress, Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, US foreign policy, US politics | Comment »
State Department Presents FY2012 Budget
February 15th, 2011 by Naureen
On Monday, Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources Thomas Nides presented the 2012 budget for the Department of State and USAID stating that this is “a lean budget for lean times” in which foreign assistance and programs in several countries have been eliminated. He stated that this budget differs from those presented in the past as it is divided into two parts. The first is the core foreign assistance and operations budget which constitutes $47 billion and the second part which covers “extraordinary temporary costs” in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Nides stated that the budget addresses the QDDR recommendations that “we move forward on an integrated national security budget.” He also noted that the budget will include funding to support allies such as Israel, the West Bank and Jordan and for military-to-military partnerships with countries like Egypt, where funding will be contingent on how the situation evolves. In response to a question on aid to Egypt, Nides stated that $1.57 billion dollars had been allocated with $1.3 billion going to the military and $250 million for economic assistance and that ”We are willing and ready to help the Egyptian people. As it relates to 2011, we’ll have funds available as well until we hear exactly what the Egyptian people will need.”
Posted in Egypt, Foreign Aid, Israel, Jordan, US foreign policy | Comment »
Granger Applauds Cuts to FY2011, Clinton Warns That Cuts Will Devastate National Security
February 15th, 2011 by Naureen
Last week, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) praised House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers for his leadership in the largest reduction in discretionary spending in U.S. history to complete the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations, which constitutes an 8 percent reduction from 2010 appropriations and a 21 percent reduction from the President’s 2011 budget request. She stated that it will set the tone for the FY2012 appropriations cycle “when cuts will go even deeper.” Granger also stated that as Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations she “will ensure that our foreign aid is not used a s a stimulus bill for foreign countries. This bill is about our national security and the funding levels reflect that” and that “the spending priorities reflect the fluid and tenuous situation in the Middle East. Volatility in the region highlights the importance of reaffirming our strategic partnerships and commitments.”
In response to the committee’s proposed cuts, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wrote a letter to Rogers stating, “Cuts of this magnitude will be devastating to our national security, will render us unable to respond to unanticipated disasters, and will damage our leadership around the world…Across the Middle East, the Committee’s proposed cuts would force us to scale back our efforts at this particularly crucial time.” She also writes, “The Administration is committed to working with Congress to reduce the deficit in a balanced manner that does not impede our economic growth or risk our national security.”
Posted in Congress, Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Released
February 14th, 2011 by Naureen
On Monday, the Office of Management and Budget released President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal. The budget provides $47 billion for the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, a 1 percent increase from 2010, stating that “by investing in civilian diplomatic and development power alongside defense, we take an integrated approach to solving global problems and support the mutually reinforcing elements of the President’s national security strategy.”
The budget for the Department of State and Other International Programs calls for continuing funded for operations and assistance in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan as well as increases in the areas of food security and global health. It also asks for support of the Export-Import Bank, the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, strategic climate change investments, and improvements in diplomatic capacity. The proposal also states that “the Department is committed to finding efficiencies, cutting waste, and focusing on key priorities” and has accordingly eliminated foreign assistance to several countries and reduced bilateral programs and funding for development foundations. The budget also seeks to advance interagency assistance planning, support USAID’s reform initiative and improve efficiency of the foreign affairs operations through the use of information technology.
Posted in Foreign Aid, US foreign policy | Comment »
House Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011 Funding Introduced
February 14th, 2011 by Naureen
H.R. 1, the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year will be introduced on the House Floor this week.  The resolution will be considered under new rules which will only allow amendments to the current bill; amendments “may not legislate or authorize new or existing programs or otherwise make changes in existing law” and may not reappropriate funds which have been appropriated in a prior fiscal year.  Members may offer “transfer amendments” in which they could call for a decrease in spending for one program and an increase in spending for another program, by an equal amount. They may also offer “spending reduction amendments” in which they may call for a spending cut to be placed in the “spending reduction account in order to demonstrate that those funds are no longer available for further appropriation.”
The total spending cuts in the CR will exceed $74 billion, including $58 billion in non-security discretionary spending reductions.  Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers released a list of 70 spending cuts included in the CR; the State and Foreign Operations section was cut $3.8 billion, or 8 percent, below last year’s level, which includes back contributions to the United Nations and other international organizations and banks.  The CR continues the fiscal year 2010 level of economic and military assistance to Egypt, but includes a clause “that any [economic] assistance made available to the Government of Egypt shall be provided with the understanding that Egypt will undertake significant economic and democratic reforms that are additional to those that were undertaken in previous fiscal years.”
Posted in Congress, Egypt, Foreign Aid, US foreign policy | Comment »
Leahy Ready to Freeze Aid to Egypt, Graham and Granger Call for Caution
February 4th, 2011 by Naureen
On Thursday, Chairman of the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said that he intends to freeze aid to Egypt until unrest subsides: “The fact of the matter is, there’s not going to be further foreign aid to Egypt until this gets settled.” Speaking to MSNBC on Wednesday, Leahy called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down saying that the aid “pipeline would be turned off” until he does.  A temporary cut-off will occur if the country does not stabilize in the next month, Leahy said;  the current government funding law is set to expire on March 4th. Leahy lauded the role the Egyptian military has played thus far, but warned that if there is any evidence that the military is violating human rights using equipment funded by the U.S., their assistance “would be cut off immediately,” per a U.S. law that Leahy himself drafted. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) cautioned his colleagues on curring aid by asking them to “consider the consequences of such an action. Give the Egyptian people a chance to work this out.” Chairwoman of the House State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) called for caution when discussing aid to Egypt.
Posted in Congress, Democracy Promotion, Egypt, Foreign Aid | Comment »
State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee Members Named
February 4th, 2011 by Naureen
On Friday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations announced subcommittee members for the 112th Congress. Members of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee include: Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking member Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Dan Coats (R-IN), Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Senator John Hoeven (R-ND).
Posted in Congress, Foreign Aid | Comment »
POMED Notes: “Egypt on the Brink”
February 4th, 2011 by Naureen
On Thursday, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in partnership with the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) hosted a discussion on the rapidly evolving crisis in Egypt. Michele Dunne, Senior Associate in the Middle East Program at Carnegie Endowment moderated the event and introduced the panelists: Amr Hamzawy, Research Director and Senior Associate of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut who joined the panelists from Midan Tahrir in Cairo; Bahey al-Din Hassan, director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies; and Neil Hicks, advisor to Human Rights First.
To read full notes, continue below or click here for pdf.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Event Notes, Events, Foreign Aid, Human Rights, Military, Muslim Brotherhood, POMED, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Possible Outcomes of Egypt’s Protests
February 1st, 2011 by Naureen
Writing at Democracy Arsenal, Joel Rubin discusses possible scenarios that could play out, as a result of the protests in Egypt. First, he states that Gamal Mubarak’s political ambitions have been effectively curtailed, given protesters clear resentment of the National Democratic Party and the fact that the “military didn’t want him.” His “crony friends,” Rubin says, are also on their way out of the country. Rubin also argues that Mubarak’s biggest concession, of making Omar Suleiman vice president, will likely mean a crackdown on Islamists and states that the future loyalty of the Army remains unclear. Given that the Army is our closest ally in Egypt after Mubarak, it may be very good for the U.S., but its independence from the Egyptian government and economy may cost us as we strive to keep the peace and stability in the country. And while Congress “has the power of the purse,” voting to cut funding to Egypt will “eliminate rapidly dissipating American influence in Egypt,” especially given that the military is “the only respected institution in that country — and one that we know well — and likely the one that will be central to it for years to come.”
Rubin also states that the chaos in Cairo will “beget repression elsewhere in the region.” Regimes in the region will likely follow the Iranian model, where government crackdown “snuffed out the Green Movement,” which will undoubtedly have negative repercussions for the U.S.’s reputation abroad. Rubin also argues, that Israel will  likely withdraw support for the Middle East peace as they are scared “to take any more risks anytime soon on a peace deal with another Arab autocrat.”
Posted in Egypt, Foreign Aid, Iran, Mideast Peace Plan, Military, Muslim Brotherhood, Protests, Reform | Comment »
Senator Graham Calls for Interim Government, Avoid Cuts on Foreign Aid
February 1st, 2011 by Naureen
On Tuesday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) applauded President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s work thus far, but called for a global plan to bring about a smooth political transition stating, “I think the international community, the Arab world, can all come up with a plan to give the Egyptian people something that is not unfair for them to ask for: an elected, representative government and free and fair elections, something they haven’t had in 30 years. The days of autocratic rule are probably history and that’s a good thing.” The interim government made up of “factions that the people respect whose sole purpose is to create continuity until September” will “quell the violence and get people feeling confident in their future” and “send a signal throughout the Arab world that change is coming,” Graham said. He noted that the army will likely play a key role in the transition. While he stopped short of calling Mubarak to step down, he made clear that he thinks Mubarak’s time is up.
Graham also criticized his fellow Republicans who have called for deep cuts in foreign aid stating, “We live in a dangerous world and foreign aid, foreign assistance is in our national security interest. If you cut that aid, you will be cutting your own throat.”
Posted in Egypt, Foreign Aid, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Congressman Ackerman Calls on Mubarak to Step Down
February 1st, 2011 by Naureen
Former Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) stated on Monday, “While initially it may have been prudent for the Obama Administration to walk that rhetorical tight rope to keep the confidence of regional leaders, that moment has surely passed. By their passion, courage and sacrifice in the streets, Egyptians have proven beyond question that they are taking their government back and that the Mubarak-era of rule is ending.” He went on to say that while President Hosni Mubarak had been a valuable partner for the United States, he has “shorn his rule of any mandate or legitimacy beyond that provided by force and arms” and that “his last service to Egypt should be to facilitate a fast transfer of power to a transitional government that can prepare for free and fair elections.” Ackerman also called for a suspension of assistance to Egypt until the transition is underway.
Posted in Egypt, Elections, Foreign Aid, Freedom, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Kerry Calls for Mubarak to Go
February 1st, 2011 by Naureen
Writing in the New York Times, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Senator John Kerry (D-MA) states that even if the protests in Egypt subside in the coming days, the relationship between the Egyptian people and their government has been forever changed. “President Hosni Mubarak,” Kerry says, “must accept that the stability of his country hinges on his willingness to step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure.” He calls on Mubarak to address his nation and declare that neither he or his son, Gamal Mubarak, will run in the presidential election this year. He must also guarantee free and fair elections open to all legitimate candidates to be conducted without military interference and must “work with the army and civil society to establish an interim caretaker government as soon as possible to oversee an orderly transition in the coming months.” Kerry went on to say, “the United States must accompany our rhetoric with real assistance to the Egyptian people. For too long, financing Egypt’s military has dominated our alliance…Congress and the Obama administration need to consider providing civilian assistance that would generate jobs and improve social conditions in Egypt, as well as guarantee that American military assistance is accomplishing its goals.”
Posted in Civil Society, Egypt, Elections, Foreign Aid, Freedom, Protests, Reform, US foreign policy | Comment »
Granger Calls for Cautious U.S. Response to Events in Egypt
January 31st, 2011 by Naureen
On Monday, Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, released the following statement regarding U.S. aid for Egypt: “While there are calls for eliminating Egypt’s economic and military aid, I urge caution when deciding what the U.S. response will be. It is critical that we are deliberate about the actions we take. Egypt has been a moderate influence in the Middle East and has a peace agreement with Israel. I am continuing to monitor the events on the ground very closely.” On Friday, she also released a statement urging the Egyptian government and the opposition to exercise restraint.
Posted in Egypt, Foreign Aid, Protests, US foreign policy | Comment »
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