May 2, 2019 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Lester Munson, and Tessie San Martin.
The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network applauds the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for its bipartisan approval today of Sean Cairncross, nominated for Chief Executive Officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
The White House nominated Sean Cairncross to be CEO in January 2018 and re-nominated him in January 2019. The MCC, which fights global poverty through economic growth in partnership with countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, economic performance, and citizen investments, has been led by various interim directors since early 2017.
Adequate resources, including sufficient and skilled staff and political leadership, are critical to effectively fulfilling the mission of U.S. development agencies of advancing national security, growing the global economy, and promoting U.S. values abroad.
Two and a half years into this Administration, various leadership positions at USAID and the State Department also remain vacant. MFAN urges the Trump administration to nominate high-quality, credible individuals to all remaining vacancies, and equally urges the Senate to confirm qualified nominees expeditiously. Career staff, American taxpayers, and our partner countries deserve agencies with strong leadership in place.
“An American private corporation would never operate without a CEO for over two years,” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President & CEO of Plan International USA. “We cannot allow the world’s premier development agencies to work without leadership. It’s a disservice to U.S. taxpayers and the dedicated staff ready to work hard toward these agencies’ missions.”
“The MCC is a highly effective U.S. foreign aid agency and leader in transparency, results, and monitoring and evaluation,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. “Confirmed leadership will enable the agency to continue its work with efficiency and purpose.”
“The Trump administration and Congress must work together to move leadership positions forward. It’s the administration’s obligation to nominate qualified candidates, and it’s the Senate’s responsibility to confirm them,” said Lester Munson, MFAN Co-Chair and Principal at BGR Group. “When it comes to vacancies in diplomacy and development, this has not been happening quickly enough.”
MFAN encourages the Trump administration and Congress to move forward on the nomination and confirmation of high-quality leadership for remaining vacancies across agencies.