The Alliance Policy Monitor

Timely, authoritative reporting on exchange news and policy trends

Mark Overmann
Mon, 09/20/2004 - 10:09

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a wide-ranging bill last week that would significantly increase funding for exchange programs, and directs the Department of State to undertake major changes in visa processing, its administration of the Exchange Visitor Program, and its conduct of public diplomacy.

Mark Overmann
Fri, 09/10/2004 - 12:51

Amidst calls for action on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) returned to Washington on Tuesday and introduced sweeping legislation to implement the Commission’s 41 proposals. Included in the legislation are several provisions to increase and expand public diplomacy and exchange programs.

Mark Overmann
Fri, 09/10/2004 - 11:03

At a hearing of the House Government Reform Committee on Thursday to examine the collaboration between the Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) on the establishment and implementation of U.S. visa policy, Committee members cited concerns about visa delays.

Mark Overmann
Fri, 09/10/2004 - 09:19

Amidst calls for action on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Report, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) returned to Washington on Tuesday and introduced sweeping legislation to implement the Commission’s 41 proposals. Included in the legislation are several provisions to increase and expand public diplomacy and exchange programs.

Mark Overmann
Wed, 08/25/2004 - 14:20

Calling for a “new brand of American diplomacy”, Keith Reinhard, President of Business for Diplomatic Action, Inc. (BDA), told members of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and International Relations Monday, that his not-for-profit organization believes “there is an urgent need for Congress to act now to dramatically overhaul the management of our public diplomacy efforts so that we as a nation can work not only to rebuild bridges of trust abroad, but also to help defuse the hatred that spawns terrorism.”

Mark Overmann
Fri, 08/20/2004 - 10:09

Appearing before the House International Relations Committee yesterday, Deputy Executive Director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Christopher Kojm advised Committee members that the U.S. should develop a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism. “We cannot succeed against terrorism by Islamist extremist groups unless we use all the elements of national power….If we favor one tool while neglecting others, we leave ourselves vulnerable and weaken our national effort.” Diplomacy, public diplomacy, and foreign aid were all cited as elements of national power by the Commission, commonly known as the 9/11 Commission.

Mark Overmann
Mon, 07/26/2004 - 14:29

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved legislation to extend by one year, to October 26, 2005, the deadline for inclusion of a biometric identifier on passports issued by Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries. The legislation, H.R. 4417, passed the House of Representatives on June 14. It would amend the deadline of October 26, 2004, set by the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 for the 27 countries that participate in the VWP.

Mark Overmann
Fri, 07/23/2004 - 09:29

In an effort to eliminate barriers to foreign students and exchange visitors, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would streamline the visa process and require the government to develop a strategic plan to attract foreign students.

Recognizing that the safety and security of the United States are extremely important, in his statement on the Senate Floor introducing the bill, Coleman said, "We all know there is absolutely no such thing as an absolute guarantee of absolute security in a free society, so what we do is measure the level of threat against the loss of certain other values and then we try to strike a balance. In the area of student visas, I believe we have pushed security concerns beyond the logical point and need to make adjustments to our policy."

Mark Overmann
Tue, 07/20/2004 - 12:25

The House of Representatives approved legislation on Thursday, July 15, to fund the foreign operations activities of the U.S. government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2005, including development assistance, aid to the Middle East, and other important programs. The $19.4 billion package, passed by a vote of 365-41, is $1.9 billion less than President bush's request, but $1.9 billion more than Congress appropriated for FY 2004. The three "overriding priorities" of the legislation, as outlined in the report language accompanying the bill, are: responding to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic; supporting our allies in the war on terrorism; and supporting innovative approaches to foreign assistance through the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Mark Overmann
Fri, 07/09/2004 - 11:17

Late yesterday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Commerce-Justice-State-Judiciary Appropriations legislation, which includes $345.346 million for the educational and cultural exchange programs of the Department of State for FY 2005. The funding level for these programs is $28.713 million above the FY 2004 funding level, and equal to the amount in President Bush's FY 2005 budget request. The legislation was approved by a vote of 397 to 18. Attention now turns to the Senate, where the timetable for action remains uncertain.