January 26, 2021 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs Lester Munson, Larry Nowels, and Tessie San Martin.
The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) welcomes Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) as the new Chairwoman of the powerful House Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs). She brings significant experience and a commitment to ensuring that U.S. foreign assistance focuses on delivering measurable outcomes for its intended recipients.
Representative Lee has a distinguished record of leadership on foreign affairs and foreign assistance with 14 years on the subcommittee, including serving as Vice Chair, and 10 years on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Since entering Congress, she has authored or co-authored landmark pieces of global HIV/AIDS legislation including the frameworks for PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Rep. Lee also authored the law creating the Special Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). As the international development community increasingly recognizes the value of diversity, equity and inclusion, Chairwoman Lee’s lens of racial equity is especially important and relevant.
MFAN looks forward to working with the Rep. Lee to elevate development, including USAID as the lead development agency. This includes capitalizing on the opportunities presented by the USAID Administrator’s recent addition to the National Security Council, building on recent USAID reforms, strengthening the USAID workforce, and enhancing local ownership of development programs through more flexible funding allocations. MFAN also looks forward to engaging with the new Chairwoman regarding the State Department, PEPFAR, the MCC and the DFC.
“I welcome Representative Lee’s commitment to strengthening diplomacy, foreign assistance, and development programs, which must be once again at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy,” said Lester Munson, MFAN co-chair and principal at the BGR Group.
“I congratulate Congresswoman Lee’s elevation to chair of the subcommittee,” said Larry Nowels, MFAN co-chair. “As a long-time member of the subcommittee, she brings a wealth of knowledge and will help ensure that all U.S. development agencies work together collaboratively to gain the greatest global impact with the money Congress appropriates.”
“I am pleased that Congresswoman Lee is assuming this vital role. She will bring a unique and important perspective to this job and help ensure that the Foreign Service and all aspects of U.S. international affairs’ agencies better reflect the diversity of our country,” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN co-chair and president and CEO of Plan International USA.