From Greg Kaufmann:
President Obama meets with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan on Wednesday, while the Senate, House, and Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) all look into Pakistan strategy.
The Administration’s Pakistan-Afghanistan envoy Richard Holbrooke will testify before both Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. Also Tuesday, the CPC holds its fifth forum on the Afghanistan War, examining how US policy in Pakistan is impacting Afghanistan. On Thursday, House Armed Services will hold a hearing on “Counterinsurgency… Issues and Lessons Learned”, witnesses include counterinsurgency specialist David Kilcullen who recently called for drone attacks in Pakistan to be halted. Also on Thursday morning, House Appropriations will mark-up the Administration’s $83 billion war supplemental.
Regarding the supplemental, last week the CPC met with Obama and took issue with the fact that it doesn’t come anywhere close to an allocation of 80 percent non-military and 20 percent military that the counterinsurgency strategy calls for. ($75 billion — or about 90 percent — is for military operations.) Obama said the supplemental reflects the mess he inherited from Bush and that the Caucus should instead examine his FY10 budget. Congress will get a chance to do just that this week as the details of Obama’s budget are expected to be released. There are also a host of appropriations hearings scheduled, including on funding for Justice, Army, Navy, and the Marine Corps.
In other defense spending news, the House Armed Services Committee will markup its bill on Pentagon procurement reform — Senate Armed Services already approved its version.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Administration will also release its plan for cracking down on offshore tax havens used by corporations and the wealthy. Aspects of this will lead to dire predictions from lobbyists on massive job losses and the inability of US companies to compete.