Senate Broadly Defends Foreign Aid in FY20 Budget Bill

September 20, 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.

This week, the Senate released its proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget for State and Foreign Operations. The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) supports several provisions included in the bill that would defend U.S. aid from disruptive instability.

MFAN praises the Senate for its recognition of the importance of robust and stable foreign affairs funding to American interests, security, and values. To be a highly effective investment for the American people, our foreign assistance funding must be evidence-based, legal, and minimize program disruptions. The provisions included in the Senate FY20 bill reflect this.

In addition to rejecting the Trump administration’s overall blunt and drastic cuts to the foreign affairs budget for the third year in a row, the Senate bill and report include a number of provisions aimed at preserving the stability and coherence of U.S. foreign assistance, including:

  • Requiring a Government Accountability Office assessment of any Foreign Assistance Review conducted by the administration;
  • Language citing the illegality of rescinding funds that would expire prior to Congress acting on a rescission bill, and opening the door to future legislative action;
  • A requirement of justification for reprogramming certain foreign aid funds; and
  • Language encouraging Central American aid to be channeled through local and international non-governmental organizations.

The network will continue to work with both the Senate and House regarding additional effectiveness issues in the FY2020 budget, including support for the new U.S. Development Finance Corporation in order to ensure it has sufficient resources and tools to fulfill its development mandate. MFAN applauds the Senate for addressing the “dueling dashboards” issue, but strongly recommends the Congress, based on evidence of the 2016 GAO report and the more recent MFAN analysis, adopt USAID’s Foreign Aid Explorer as the basis for any consolidation.

MFAN thanks the Senate for their continued support for the importance of our foreign assistance and looks forward to working with lawmakers to strengthen the effectiveness provisions in the final version.

 

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