On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the State Department Authorization Bill, S.2971, by voice vote – the first State authorization bill to pass out of the SFRC in five years. The revised bill focuses on reforms at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), among others.
In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing last week, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Jack Lew and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah provided an update on the status of the Administration’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative (GHFSI).
The National Security Council Deputies Committee meeting last week continues to generate buzz with a recent post by Politico blogger Laura Rozen. Yesterday, Rozen posted a piece that focused on frustration felt on Capitol Hill among members and staff over the lack of significant consultation during the review processes for the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) and the White House’s Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy (PSD-7).
Last night, President Obama spoke at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship – the first summit to build off his promise of a “new beginning” from last year’s speech in Cairo. The Summit, co-hosted by the Departments of State and Commerce, is a step toward building closer ties between the U.S. and Muslim communities worldwide.
Last week, the White House’s National Security Council convened its Deputies Committee, a gathering of high-level representatives from all the major agencies in government, to pave the way for the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy (PSD) and the interim findings of the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) to be finalized.
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah testified earlier this week before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations on the FY2011 Budget request for USAID.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA), along with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), yesterday introduced legislation to address the challenges of urbanization in developing countries.
After a nearly 12 month delay, the Senate has confirmed former MFAN Principal Lael Brainard as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. One of Brainard’s most important contributions to the movement for foreign assistance reform was her creation of a chart cataloging the uncoordinated programs and overlapping authorities that are rife in the U.S. foreign assistance system.
The contest, now its fifth year, asks students to submit broadcast or print public service announcements that communicate the importance of appropriate disaster relief, while building support for U.S. agencies and organizations that conduct international disaster relief.
“I think that it is an extremely difficult challenge which will come up each time we have a program being put in place that this coordination takes time, it takes effort, it takes flexibility. It’s not the history of the way we’ve provided assistance in the past in other places, so we’re in very difficult environments trying to bring together all of the different instrumentalities to work in a coordinated way. I think we saw some places where that had worked better than others. We also saw some processes that we could improve to make it even more effective.”