May 12, 2010 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram, and Jim Kolbe:
We commend Representatives Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA) for launching the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance. The Caucus is the first of its kind to focus solely on reforming foreign assistance to maximize the impact of the 1 percent of our federal budget that is spent on promoting poverty alleviation, disease eradication, and equitable economic growth in developing countries.
The creation of the Caucus is a strong sign of the bipartisan support for strengthening development as a central pillar of U.S. foreign policy, alongside defense and diplomacy. Rep. Crenshaw, Rep. Smith, and the other Members involved will play a critical role in advancing foreign assistance reform, building on related legislation in both the Senate (S. 1524) and the House (H.R. 2139) that garnered wide bipartisan support in the last Congress.
MFAN stands ready to work with the Caucus and its co-founders to advance reform in the following ways:
- Giving the reform agenda durability by forging bipartisan agreement on key pieces of it that can be codified in law;
- Bolstering accountability across our assistance programs by expanding new initiatives such as the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, which allows people to access never-before-public information about foreign assistance funding and results;
- Increasing local ownership of, and responsibility for, assistance programs by making sure decisions on development also reflect local priorities and on-the-ground realities, rather than just a Washington perspective;
- Ensuring assistance is more strategic by better defining the differences between development-focused efforts and national security-focused efforts, and making changes to the way we plan, fund and execute programs as a result; and
- Utilizing legislative tools to strengthen implementation of USAID’s internal reforms in order to empower USAID as the world’s leading development agency.
We urge other Members of Congress to join the Caucus and work with Rep. Crenshaw, Rep. Smith, and the myriad supporters of foreign assistance reform to ensure that our development efforts deliver maximum results for people in need as well as U.S. taxpayers.