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Deadline to Watch: Nov. 18 E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Monday, 14 November 2011

Recent action by Congress extended the funding for the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, but only for a very short time. The new sunset deadline is Friday, November 18. Without a funding renewal, the controversial watchdog will be set to expire. One solution being proposed is a cut in funding from $4 million to $3 million and a reduction in commissioners from 9 to 5. 

I for one am hoping that's not the answer. Five members or nine, four million or three, these are small distinctions for a government commission with such an enormous mission. What Congress needs to decide is whether there remains a compelling purpose for the Commission at all, that and the precise nature of its relationship to the State Department and other government agencies. Whether there is or isn't, a small cut in an already small (relatively speaking) program sounds more like a way to avoid that fundamental question of value, rather than a way to answer it.

You don't think any legislators are preparing to use this as a political weapon, do you? 

Stay tuned.