MFAN Partner Sarah Jane Staats, director of policy outreach at the Center for Global Development, wrote a great piece yesterday celebrating the launch of the new Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance. Staats asserts how timely the Caucus is given both the budget environment and the security challenges abroad before outlining three wishes she hopes the Caucus will take to heart:
- Be active. There are nearly 200 congressional caucuses for everything from “Friends of Liechtenstein” and “civility” to those for Blue Dog Democrats and the Tea Party. (Dare I say that some caucuses are more equal than others?) The success of the new caucus on foreign aid will depend on how active it is and how willing it is to engage in a serious debate about what works, what should be improved and what should change or end.
- Make the presidential policy directive on U.S. global development reality. The presidential policy directive on U.S. global development policy articulates clearer objectives and priorities for better, smarter U.S. development and foreign assistance. The caucus could ensure the vision is fulfilled and includes congressional input and support.
- Go beyond aid. While many of the speakers used “foreign assistance” and “development” interchangeably, my hope is that the caucus looks beyond bilateral aid mechanisms to multilateral efforts (in tandem with the Caucus for Congressional-World Bank Dialogue, perhaps?) and other U.S. policies like trade and migration that can have a big impact on prosperity and security in developing countries (and back at home).
Also, check out Devex’s report on the newly-formed Caucus. MFAN Partner Greg Adams, Oxfam America’s director of aid effectiveness, is quoted in the piece saying: “The Caucus is another sign that members of Congress from both parties are committed to fighting global poverty and want the U.S. to do this well. Reps. Crenshaw and Smith have been stressing that fighting global poverty is core to U.S. security, prosperity and values. The caucus provides a venue for members across Congress to educate themselves and the public about both the value of fighting poverty, as well as how we build better tools to do this critical work.”