Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) has introduced the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2012-13, which calls for robust resources for U.S. diplomacy and development programs that are critical components of U.S. foreign policy in a challenging world. MFAN applauds Chairman Kerry for authoring a bill that demonstrates a strong commitment to the civilian tools of U.S. global leadership and pushes forward the vital reforms to U.S. foreign assistance.
The DAC is to be commended for writing an informative report that offers constructive and concrete recommendations for advancing foreign assistance reform. The question is whether the Obama administration and the Congress will take the recommendations to heart and work together to finish the job.
In a letter obtained by The Washington Post, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that she will urge a veto if a House Foreign Affairs committee bill that outlines severe restrictions and cuts to foreign assistance programs reaches the White House.
The severe cuts to U.S. foreign assistance proposed yesterday by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations (SFOPS) would fall hardest on the world’s poorest people, millions of whom are alive and thriving today because of U.S. leadership on international development over the last decade.
Below, please see a guest post from Ariadne Medler, Program Coordinator, Development Assistance and Governance Initiative Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings in which she previews the 2011 Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development peer review of the United States.
MFAN will be taking a closer look at these pieces of legislation, through the perspective of our Partners, and, more broadly, how reform is affecting the way policymakers think about development issues. See below for the first piece in this recurring series from Aaron Emmel, Government Affairs Officer, PATH.
On Thursday, July 21, MFAN and Foreign Policy magazine co-hosted, “The New Middle East: Can Foreign Assistance Bolster the Arab Spring?” The event explored how the U.S. should leverage foreign assistance to protect and advance nascent democratic trends in the Arab world. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Tamara Cofman Wittes gave a keynote speech, followed by panel discussion…
My staff and I have been working assiduously on a wholesale rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. In early September, I plan to release it in discussion draft form. This draft is the product of years of research, investigations, briefings, and consultations—with our partners in the field, with the Administration, and with a wide range of experts and organizations involved in development and international relations. And it reflects the input and feedback we have received from the concept paper and three discussion papers we have released since July 2009.
So why does it matter that there has not been a comprehensive annual foreign aid authorization or a new FAAct in over 25 years? We often hear that the President can find the authority needed to carry out any foreign assistance activity somewhere in the FAAct or in annual appropriations. That may be largely the case but it misses some key points.
During yesterday’s mark-up of the FY2012 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously passed an amendment authored by Ranking Member Howard Berman that articulates clear goals for U.S. foreign assistance. By fostering bipartisan support for the amendment’s passage, Ranking Member Berman, Congress’ most vocal champion of foreign assistance reform, and Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have created important momentum towards a larger goal: rewriting the Cold War-era Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. This is imperative in a world of complex and evolved challenges and tight budgets.