Last week, MFAN member Sarah Jane Staats, director of policy outreach at the Center for Global Development, posted a piece on CGD’s Rethinking US Foreign Assistance blog taking a closer look at how the new divided Congress will impact global development policy. After noting that it is unclear where Tea Partiers stand on many foreign policy issues, she argues the general emphasis on reigning in government spending could benefit the reform agenda. She also notes the potential impact on trade issues and specific presidential initiatives like the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future. Click here to read MFAN Principal John Norris’ piece for more on Tea Party foreign policy and see below for key excerpts from Staats’ piece:
“Of course, aid is about more than money; how rich countries design their aid programs is as important as how much they give. In this sense, the pressure on the budget could help drive aid reforms and force the administration and Congress to make tough choices about where and how we spend our aid dollars and push for stronger evidence on what works in development. The push to be more selective with our development assistance, focus on economic growth, and do a better job of measuring impact and results (and share it publicly) is already lined up in the presidential policy directive on U.S. global development policy and seems like a reform mantle that both parties could get behind.”
“The new presidential policy directive on global development wisely says that development is about more than aid, and trade is a logical way to show that the United States is using its other policy tools for development. If I were in the White House, I’d be reaching out tomorrow to Camp, Brady and Senator-elect (and former U.S. Trade Representative) Rob Portman (R-OH) to come up with a joint trade policy agenda that benefits the United States and developing countries.”
“It’s also worth watching how the three major presidential development initiatives—Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative, and Global Climate Change Initiative—fare in the new Congress and in a tight budget environment. I wonder whether these initiatives with new structures and new budget lines will look like expanding government bureaucracy or duplication of efforts among U.S. development actors. Republican control of the House could also inject a new round of reproductive rights and abortion debates into global health conversations. With White House leadership, it’s not impossible that we could see some foreign aid reform legislation, but I’m less hopeful that we’ll see a new Foreign Assistance Act.”
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