In This Issue:
- DOMESTIC POLICY MATTERS
Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Budget. House and Senate Appropriations and authorization committees held several hearings this week to review the President’s FY 2013 budget request. While testifying before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of devastating effects from the additional $492 billion in defense cuts that would be triggered if Congress fails to reach an alternative deficit reduction agreement. Secretary Panetta’s position on sequestration met with bipartisan Congressional support. Meanwhile, House Republican leaders met this week to discuss whether to propose a reduction to the top-line discretionary spending cap for FY 2013 below the level set in the Budget Control Act....
- FOREIGN POLICY MATTERS
Syrian Conflict. This week, Saudi Arabia and Qatar declared support for arming the Free Syrian Army; however, the United States has yet to take that position. On Thursday, Assad regime forces overwhelmed the Bab Amr neighborhood of Homs, as Syrian opposition forces retreated from their stronghold. Friday, the International Red Cross dispatched a convoy to Homs with medical and food assistance for civilians trapped for over a month. Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met in Washington Wednesday with Syrian Chargé d’Affaires Zuheir Jabbour to urge the regime to comply with its November 2nd commitment to the Arab League to end violence against civilians. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday, the Assistant Secretary appealed for international pressure on Russia and China to stop blocking U.N. Security Council action to oust the Assad regime. Also Thursday, in Geneva, the U.N. Human Rights Council condemned violations in Syria....
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