Wouldn’t it be useful if outrageous political appointments could be “offset” by compulsory adjustments elsewhere in the administration?
In other words, if the Bush administration wanted to invest a lot in John Bolton going to the United Nations as America’s Ambassador, then a corresponding offset of equal weight elsewhere in America’s foreign policy portfolio would be required. Pumping up Millennium Challenge funds by another $5 billion or actually giving civil servants and real diplomats in the State Department the funding and capacity to do their jobs — taking it from the Defense Department for example — might work.
But the Bush administration is just trying to force-feed John Bolton down the American throat without any other credible investments in global diplomacy, aid, or competency building on the order of magnitude of this destructive appointment.
Mark Schmitt highlights a truly important provision that Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) are pushing that gets Congress back to requiring offsets in spending bills if new projects or efforts that require new spending are proposed.
This is the kind of fiscal conservatism that the Republican Party used to be about — and by which most Americans want to see their legislators abide.
Schmitt notes that Feingold and Chafee are also the two key senators in the upcoming Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings (April 7th) on John Bolton’s UN nomination.
I think Americans should applaud Feingold and Chafee’s leadership on PAYGO and should also ask for their leadership on Bolton — where unfortunately we don’t have the ability to demand offsets for his costly position in our American diplomatic portfolio.
— Steve Clemons