This Week in Washington - March 30, 2012


In This Issue:


Budget & Appropriations. The House of Representatives on Thursday approved Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisconsin) Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution by a vote of 228 to 191. Ten Republicans joined the entire Democratic caucus in voting against the measure, which sets an overall discretionary spending cap at $1.028 trillion – $19 billion less than the cap established by last year’s Budget Control Act. The Democratic-controlled Senate has vowed to stick with the $1.047 trillion cap set last year, and thus is unlikely to take up the Republican-supported House resolution. Appropriators in both chambers held their final round of hearings this week in preparation to mark-up their respective appropriations bills soon after they return from the April recess. On Thursday, a group of Republican senators held a press conference to urge Congress to take action to prevent sequestration and request a meeting with President Obama to negotiate a deal to avert the automatic cuts. Congress recessed Friday, returning April 16th....


Syrian Conflict. Early this week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad indicated he would accept U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s ceasefire plan to end the violence in Syria. Days later, with no signs Syrian forces were standing down, a letter from Assad reportedly conditioned his acceptance upon assurance that foreign assistance to the Syrian opposition would cease. The Arab League Summit convened Tuesday in Iraq, with Syria at the top of the agenda....

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