Congressional news

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced yesterday the Global Partnerships Act of 2012, “a top-to-bottom approach to overhauling the existing [international] aid structure.” This legislation would replace the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, “the outdated system that the United States has relied on to disburse foreign aid for the past 50 years,” reports CQ.com.

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Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), currently the Ranking Member of the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, has been selected as Ranking Democrat of the full House Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress, according to Politico.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has withdrawn her name from President Obama’s shortlist for the cabinet post of Secretary of State, making Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) a likely frontrunner for the post, according to CQ.com and the Washington Post.

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If Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) chair Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is appointed to a cabinet post in the Obama administration, the Senate could become “a far more raucous and combative place” with regard to foreign policy, CQ.com reports. Kerry has been shortlisted for the positions of both Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.

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Senate Democrats are blocking a debate on Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-TX) STEM visa bill, passed by the House last week [the Alliance reported], which would abolish the diversity visa program and instead allocate 55,000 visas to international graduates with degrees in the STEM fields from U.S.

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With a 245-139 vote, the House passed today a bill sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) that would abolish the diversity visa lottery and instead allocate 55,000 green cards to international doctoral or master’s degree students in the STEM fields, CQ.com reports. Based on a Smith amendment adopted with the rule, the measure (H.R.

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Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) will be the new chair of the House Judiciary Committee in the next Congress, according to CQ.com.

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Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) will be the new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the next Congress, according to CQ.com.

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While Tuesday’s election preserved the Congressional “status quo,” with the Democrats holding the Senate and Republicans retaining control of the House, significant changes to the committee make-up of both chambers appear likely.

The House’s committee make-up, in particular, is subject to major changes in part due to the large influx of new members in the last 2 elections, according to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) 2012 Election Analysis:

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President Obama signed into law the six-month continuing resolution (CR) recently passed by the House and the Senate that will fund the federal government between October 1 – the beginning of FY 13 – and March 27.

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