Friday, July 29, 2011

Point, Counterpoint

With foreign relations authorization ($) and appropriations legislation released in the past week, House Republicans threw down the gauntlet on foreign affairs spending for the coming fiscal year. Senate Democrats came back Wednesday with their own -- very different -- vision for American foreign policy with a rival version of the authorization bill ($).

Some of the starkests differences between the two chambers' bills:
  • House Republicans want to distance the U.S. from the United Nations, Senate Democrats want to cozy up further
  • House Republicans want to cut Pakistan civilian aid and add a bevy of new strings to the aid that is left, Senate Democrats did not entertain any additional restrictions on non-military aid
  • Senate Democrats want to expand, while also improving upon, the Millenium Challenge Corporation model; Republicans are looking to significantly pare back funding
  • Overall, Senate Democrats would keep funding for diplomacy and foreign assistance in line with the president's request, while Republicans want to chop the budget by more than $7 billion
It shouldn't be terribly surprising that the parties are as far apart on policy as they are on these two bills, given the way the rest of this Congressional cycle is going, but the contrast between their views of America's role in the world is disconcerting, nonetheless.

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