To kick off our Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance (CCEFA) profiles, we revisit the founding Co-Chairs—Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA). Together, they led the Caucus’ launch event on the Hill last month that also included a panel of leading voices in development policy and practice. See below for more about the Co-Chairs and stay tuned next week as we begin to profile recent Members who have joined CCEFA.
Co-Chair Ander Crenshaw (R-FL-04)
Serving as one of the faces of this Caucus, Rep. Crenshaw has put forth the clear message that the CCEFA “has been created to further the overall effectiveness of foreign assistance.” Moreover, the Co-Chair and six-term Congressman from Florida stated that promoting foreign assistance programs and facilitating the emergence of additional efforts is paramount “for the United States to successfully achieve its critical international policy objectives.” Rep. Crenshaw also strongly believes in making the most effective use of our aid dollars. In his opening remarks at CCEFA’s inaugural event, Rep. Crenshaw commented, “In today’s economic climate, it is even more important that government use every dollar effectively… our foreign assistance programs are no exception.”
Rep. Crenshaw has a long history of endorsing foreign assistance programs. He has been a vocal advocate for supporting women’s rights abroad, expressing in a letter co-authored by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) in July 2010, that the efficacy of American foreign assistance efforts is entirely dependent on ensuring that “all girls can stay in school and [that they] have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives.” Going beyond his steadfast support for women’s rights and education, which contributed to the development of The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act, Rep. Crenshaw has a lengthy and consistent record of promoting American economic integration, voting in favor or several Free Trade Agreements.
More generally, Rep. Crenshaw sits on the House Appropriations Committee, serving as a vocal advocate for a financial future that is built on responsible federal activity and efficient budgetary spending.
As Co-Chair of the CCEFA, Rep. Crenshaw will look to translate his “knowledge of military, defense, and fiscal issues” along with his commitment to international and humanitarian matters, into a vision that will foster the development of successful foreign assistance programs.
Co-Chair Adam Smith (D-WA-09)
Having sat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and currently serving as the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Smith provided remarks during the launch event that built on his preexisting Congressional experience and focused on “the connection between national security and development.” He added that “development needs to be bottom up, not top down” and our efforts should be led by a commitment to help build “local capacity” abroad.
Along with his eight terms of service in Congress, Rep. Smith brings a seasoned outlook on America’s role in the international community, both on an economic and humanitarian level. He has been quoted as saying, “I support a comprehensive foreign policy strategy that… encourages self-determination, democracy, human rights, economic development, and much greater access to education, health care, and jobs.” Additionally, his stance as Co-Chair of CCEFA will be driven by his sense of responsibility to have America use its power to “take a global approach to world leadership… [on] issues such as global poverty.”
Rep. Smith has repeatedly illustrated his commitment to achieving a more modern and streamlined foreign assistance strategy through the legislation he has worked on. He sponsored the Global Poverty Act of 2009 and cosponsored the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009, as well as other more specific humanitarian measures, such as the Newborn, Child and Mother Survival Act of 2009 and the Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive Act of 2010.
Rep. Smith will use his multi-faceted outlook on foreign assistance and other related issues to lead and guide the CCEFA in the months to come.