More financial and military commitments to Haiti are on the horizon, U.S. officials say. The U.S. has directed more relief funding to Haiti than the federal government originally planned — its initial $100 million has already swelled to $170 million. And the spending levels are bound to “skyrocket,” said a Wall Street Journal story. U.S. officials forecast spending millions more in the next few weeks and perhaps over the next few years. Still, congressional aides and the Obama administration are doubtful that the White House will need to approach Congress to release emergency funding “because the earthquake hit early in the fiscal year and many of the federal government's existing relief accounts remain well funded.” The U.S., along with Canada, leads the donation effort to the earthquake-stricken nation.
Many lawmakers remain committed to providing military and financial resources to Haiti despite international scrutiny over past U.S. interventions in the country, The Hill reports. The U.S. pledged yesterday to send 4,000 additional military staffers to Haiti. “Unfortunately, we still have leaders in the Western Hemisphere like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales who are making shameful and outrageous comments about the United States’ efforts to help the people of Haiti," said Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., referring to Hugo Chavez’ remarks that the U.S. used the earthquake as a means of instituting imperialism in Haiti.
Also today in budget news:
Debt Ceiling Debate Begins (Wall Street Journal)
Senate Rejects GOP Bid to End TARP Payments (The Hill)