Full disclosure: I've both received two USIP grants, and am currently working with them on another project, so my view might be a little biased. Still, this seems a rather silly way of enhancing the ability of the US to deal with complex peace and security challenges:
House votes to cut all funding for US Institute of Peace
By Eric W. Dolan
The Raw Story
Thursday, February 17th, 2011 -- 6:45 pm
The US House of Representatives accepted an amendment to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 on Thursday to eliminate all funding for the US Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent government-funded institution to analyze and prevent international conflict.
"I am very pleased my amendment to end federal funding for the US Institute of Peace was voted on and accepted by my colleagues in the House," Rep. Chip Cravaack (D-MN), one of the co-sponsors of the amendment, said. "If signed into law, this amendment will save the taxpayers $42 million this year. Washington has been spending beyond its means for years. We must look for places to make cuts so we are not piling mountains of debt on future generations."
The amendment was also co-sponsored by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). It was accepted by a 268 to 163 vote....
What is most remarkable, however, is the argument given for cutting USIP by two of the prime-movers behind the amendment in a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal
--namely, that is Washington shouldn't be "using taxpayer money to fund a private organization." USIP was established by an act of Congress
, and the composition of its Board of Directors shows that it is anything but "private":
The Board shall consist of fifteen voting members as follows:
(1) The Secretary of State (or if the Secretary so designates, another officer of the Department of State who was appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate).
(2) The Secretary of Defense (of if the Secretary so designates, another officer of the Department of Defense who was appointed with the advice and consent of the Senate).
(3) The president of the National Defense University (or if the president so designates, the vice president of the National Defense University).
(4) Twelve individuals appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.