August 9, 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.
Today, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network Co-Chairs sent letters to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and USAID Administrator Mark Green expressing concern over the Office of Management and Budget’s apportionment action, which suggests an end-run around the Congress of questionable legality by the executive branch to cut foreign aid funding.
In the letter, the MFAN Co-Chairs urge Secretary Pompeo and Administrator Green to “act swiftly and decisively on this matter in order to preserve the integrity and effectiveness of our foreign aid programs.”
The letter states that “any review or changes to U.S. foreign assistance programs should rely on robust program evaluations to assess effectiveness, follow legal channels through the congressional appropriations process, and minimize disruptions to critical American efforts abroad.”
“Funding decisions that are not evidence-based exacerbate funding instability and interruptions, which limit the effectiveness of programs designed to save lives and further American interests. An uncertain and chaotic funding process, including highly disruptive and unplanned cuts such as rescissions, can have detrimental effects on critical programs,” the Co-Chairs wrote.
“As with last year’s attempt to rescind lawfully appropriated funds for foreign assistance, we remain concerned that OMB is seeking to circumvent Congress’ power of the purse. The proposed review covers a broad set of foreign assistance accounts, suggesting that OMB is attempting widespread cuts without detailed review of the success or failure of potential spending,” the letter states.
To most effectively leverage American tax dollars and further American interests abroad, any review of U.S. foreign assistance funding should be evidence-based, legal, and minimize program disruptions. MFAN applauds Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch, Ranking Member Robert Menendez, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, and Ranking Member Michael McCaul for their August 9 letter , as well as House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey and Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy for their letter discouraging the submission of a rescission package.