PUBLIC POLICY UPDATE February 1, 2013 WASHINGTON UPDATE Budget and Appropriations The Senate passed legislation on Thursday

to suspend the debt ceiling until May 19, while tying their own pay to their ability to pass a budget by April 15. It passed 64-34, with 12 Republicans y voting for it and only one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (WV), voting against it. The legislation is now on its way to the president’s desk. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its annual outlook this coming Tuesda Tuesday, February 5. The report is expected to look at how the recent fiscal cliff deal will affect the economy. Douglas Elmendorf, director of CBO, will testify before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, February 6. It appears increasingly likely that sequestration will take place on March 1, with an approximately sequestration 5.1 percent across-the-board cut. It remains to be seen how long it will last or if it will be altered board amidst the spending debates for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. Secretary of State Confirmation irmation On Tuesday morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Sen. John Kerry’s (D (DMA) nomination for Secretary of State by a unanimous voice vote. That afternoon, the full Senate approved his nomination in a 94-to-3 vote. Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and OK), (R John Cornyn (R-TX) were the only “no” votes. A number of senators spoke on the floor to TX) commend Kerry’s work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and to emphasize the importance of international development and humanit an assistance as part of U.S. foreign humanitarian policy. Massachusetts’ Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has selected Mo Cowan, his former chief of staff, to fill Kerry’s vacated seat until a special summer election can be held. UPCOMING HEARINGS Hearing: The Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook Committee: House of Representatives Committee on the Budget Witnesses: Douglas Elmendorf, director, Congressional Budget Office When: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 9:30 a.m. Where: 210 Cannon House Office Building Contact: http://budget.house.gov/ ARTICLES AND REPORTS

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CNN Jan. 28 Al-Assad's grip on power "slipping away," Medvedev says Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev explains that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chances of staying in power are decreasing as the two-year-long rebellion against his leadership continues. If al-Assad loses power due to the revolt, there could be conflict amid his successors. Devex Jan. 31 Aid pledges to Syria exceed UN appeal Exceeding the UN’s $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal has brought “a message of hope” to Syrians according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The United States pledged $155 million. However, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said that the money must mean action in order to help as many Syrians as possible. New York Times Jan. 29 Kerry Sails Through the Senate as Secretary of State By a vote of 94 to 3, the Senate confirmed Senator John Kerry as secretary of state on Tuesday. Three Republican senators, including Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, and James M. Inhofe, voted against the nomination. Senator Kerry is a Vietnam veteran and has served in the Senate since 1985. Jan 30 Malnourished Gain Lifesaver in Antibiotics Two studies conducted by Washington University in St. Louis have made major breakthroughs about the causes and treatment of malnutrition, which claims a million lives a year. The studies found that giving children a cheap antibiotic with the usual nutritional treatment could potentially save thousands of lives. Washington Post Jan. 28 French military says forces have entered Timbuktu, militants burned manuscripts as they fled Militants set a library of thousands of ancient manuscripts and historical documents on fire on Monday in Timbuktu, as well as the mayor’s office and the Ahmed Baba institute. Timbuktu is known to be a center of Islamic learning and has housed about 20,000 manuscripts. Jan. 29 Syrian activists say at least 65 found dead in Aleppo On Tuesday, 65 people were found dead in the Syrian city of Aleppo. On the same day, President Obama announced that the U.S. will offer an additional $155 million in aid to Syria, which will go toward clothing, blankets, medicine and food. This assistance almost doubles America’s current commitment to Syria. Jan. 31 HRW: Worst year for human rights in Russia since the USSR collapsed This year has been the worst for human rights for Russia in more than two decades, according to Human Rights Watch. The government enacted restrictions on international adoptions, “gay propaganda,” protests and nonprofits, and opposition leaders have faced such threats as kidnapping.
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