Clinton and Gates on Capitol Hill as Obama asks for Haiti money
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are testifying today about their request for new supplemental funding. A portion of this funding designated for the reconstruction of Haiti was sent to Congress on Wednesday. President Obama sent Congress a request for an addition $2.8 billion to reimburse federal agencies for their outlays ...
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are testifying today about their request for new supplemental funding. A portion of this funding designated for the reconstruction of Haiti was sent to Congress on Wednesday.
President Obama sent Congress a request for an addition $2.8 billion to reimburse federal agencies for their outlays in the wake of Haiti’s Januray earthquake and to provide for a few more months of recovery and reconstruction support there. $1.6 billion of that total is designated to go to State and USAID.
The rest of the funds would be spread around Washington, with significant totals going to the Defense Department ($655 million), the Treasury Department ($220 million), Health and Human Services ($220 million), the Department of Agriculture ($150 million), and the Department of Homeland Security ($60 million).
According to a State-USAID fact sheet obtained by The Cable, the World Bank has determined that $11.5 billion will be needed for Haiti’s reconstruction. A U.N. donors conference is set for March 31 in New York. About $500 million, or one third, of the Haiti supplemental request for State and USAID will go to reimburse those agencies for money already spent, according to the fact sheet.
A spokesman for the House Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee said that the schedule for moving the aid is still undetermined, pending a decision by House leadership and appropriations chairman David Obey, D-WI.
Haitian President Rene Preval had asked for direct budget support (a black check) when he was in Washington earlier this month, but that’s not really the way the U.S. provides foreign aid except in rare circumstances.
Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is getting ready to introduce legislation that would set the legal framework for aid to Haiti over the next several years to help it rebuild its economy.
"It lays out a policy framework and delineates key strategic objectives that would guide, in partnership with the Haitian government, how resources will be spent," said committee spokesperson Frederick Jones. That bill will pave the way for aid related to governance, security, urban development, agricultural development, environmental sustainability, health systems, education, and disability assistance, he said.
The Senate bill would also mandate a new position for someone to oversee all policy for Haiti (wasn’t Rajiv Shah doing that?) and will surface following the next Congressional recess.
"It puts in place appropriate accountability measures so Congress and the public can transparently know where money is going and what progress has been achieved," Jones said.
Former President George W. Bush has already wiped his hands of the Haiti issue, it seems.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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