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Congress Reaches Deal On FY11 Budget; Short-Term Resolution Passed

“Congress late Friday narrowly averted a government shutdown after Democrats and Republicans agreed to cut” nearly $39 billion in spending over the next six months, Roll Call reports.

Congress passed a seven-day short-term resolution to keep the government funded. The measure “will cut the first $2 billion of the total savings,” according to a statement from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). In the statement, Boehner and Reid said they had agreed to “cut $78.5 billion below the president’s 2011 budget proposal” and had “reached an agreement on the policy riders.”

President Barack Obama praised the deal. “I’m pleased to announce that the … federal government, will remain open,” he said (Stanton, 4/9). Obama signed the continuing resolution on Saturday, The Hill reports (Hooper/Bolton/Cusack, 4/9).

“A top Republican aide said the aim was to finish and introduce the [final FY11] bill by Monday night, and bring it to a vote by the House Wednesday and the Senate Thursday,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “Although crucial details were still being worked out, aides from both political parties said they don’t believe any remaining decisions would derail the agreement’s passage,” the newspaper reports.

“Aides from both parties said State Department and other foreign-aid programs were set $8 billion below the White House request but would still be around the $49 billion appropriated for 2010” (Hook, 4/11). A post on the White House’s blog states that the “cuts to the State Department and foreign assistance will mean we will not meet some of the ambitious goals set for the nation in the President’s Budget” (Pfeiffer, 4/9).

CQ highlighted some of the measure’s “controversial issues” that are “likely to meet vigorous resistance in Congress this week.” One of the issues mentioned is “funding for a U.N. population program and international family planning.” According to CQ, “Democrats successfully deflected the Republican drive to zero out the funding” (Friel, 4/10).

Obama To Offer Response To Republican FY12 Budget Proposal; CQ Examines Proposal’s Impact On Foreign Aid Funding

“Obama this week will release a plan for curbing the nation’s reliance on borrowed money, as Congress and the White House head for the next round of budget battles over the debt limit and government spending,” a second CQ article reports (Young, 4/10). “The president’s plan will be offered as a response to a fiscal 2012 budget proposal” put forth last week by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), according to Roll Call (Roth, 4/10).

In an article examining how Ryan’s budget proposal would affect foreign aid funding, CQ writes the “proposal signals that Republican leaders have accepted the administration’s argument that foreign assistance and diplomacy are critical components of national security. But GOP support for that position extends only to activities in discrete conflict zones.” While the budget proposal would “fulfill the Obama administration’s request for aid funding where American troops are engaged,” it also “includes dramatic funding cuts for the rest of the State Department, development programs and contributions to international organizations, well beyond the significant cuts House Republicans have endorsed for the remainder of fiscal 2011.”

“The programs likely to take the biggest hit under Ryan’s proposal are the same ones battling to fend off deep cuts in pending legislation to fund the government for the rest of 2011: global health programs, contributions to international organizations, disaster assistance and economic support for the developing world,” CQ notes (Cadei, 4/10).