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Budget – House Committee on Appropriations announces 302(b) allocations for FY 2010 appropriation bills

The House Committee on Appropriations announced the 302(b) funding allocations for the FY 2010 appropriations bills. The 302(b) funding allocation provided to each appropriations subcommittee acts as a ceiling for allocating funds in the appropriation bill under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction. The 302(b) allocation to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs is approximately $49 billion.

Congressional Budget Office – Cost Estimate of H.R. 2454 American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that over the 2010-2019 period enacting this legislation would:

- Increase federal revenues by about $846 billion; and

- Increase direct spending by about $821 billion.

In total, those changes would reduce budget deficits (or increase future surpluses) by about $24 billion over the 2010-2019 period.”

GAO Report – International Food Assistance: Local and Regional Procurement Can Enhance the Efficiency of U.S. Food Aid, but Challenges May Constrain Its Implementation

In an analysis of the U.S. approach to delivering food aid, the General Accountability Office (GAO) compared local and regional procurement (LRP) of food aid to in-kind donations. The GAO found that LRP “offers donors a tool to reduce food aid costs and delivery time, but multiple challenges to ensuring cost-savings and timely delivery exist.” Some of the challenges faced by using LRP are: uncertain food quality, insufficient local and regional delivery capabilities, existing U.S. legislation requiring U.S. production and transportation of food assistance, and uncertain impacts on local markets (i.e. potential increased prices due to increased demand).

H.R. 2639 – Global Poverty Act of 2009

The proposed bill directs the President to develop and implement a strategy to reduce global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Among other things, the bill requires that the strategy include measurable goals, benchmarks, and timelines, and that it build upon, leverage, and better coordinate existing efforts to address issues relevant to global poverty such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, water, and hunger. Finally, the bill requires the President to report back to Congress regularly on the progress of the strategy.

Senator John Kerry discusses U.S. Diplomacy and Development

In a speech at the Brookings Institution titled “Diplomacy and Development in the 21st Century: A Conversation with Senator John Kerry,” Senator Kerry summarized his views on the current state of U.S. diplomatic and development institutions and suggested a number of reforms that would “strengthen our civilian institutions to adequately address the challenges of the 21st century.” Some of these reforms include:

- Increasing resources, personnel and training;

- Improving coordination of U.S. foreign assistance programs;

- Clarifying the policies and goals of U.S. foreign assistance;

- Reauthorizing the Foreign Assistance Act; and

- Rebalancing the decision-making process between Washington and the field.

Senator Kerry also announced that he would be “introducing two pieces of legislation: a Foreign Affairs Authorization Act that will authorize the State Department and related accounts, and an initial foreign aid reform bill.”

H.Res. 466 – Recognizing World Hepatitis Awareness Month and World Hepatitis Day May 19, 2009

Among other things, the resolution states that the House of Representatives “supports raising awareness of the risks and consequences of undiagnosed chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections, and the urgency for a robust governmental and public health response to protect the health of approximately 6,000,000 people in the United States and nearly 600,000,000 people worldwide who suffer from chronic viral hepatitis.”