May 30, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a strong FY13 State and Foreign Operations budget to support U.S. leadership in the fight against global poverty and disease. Acknowledging the challenging fiscal climate, we urge Congress to adopt the Senate bill and advance it to President Obama to sign into law.
The funding in the Senate Committee’s bill will help us reach two important goals. First, it will allow the U.S. to maintain a strong foreign assistance presence in the developing world, where our support is critical to bolstering nascent democracies, helping developing countries and citizens achieve self-sufficiency, and building constructive economic and security relationships. Second, it will maintain the momentum of a decade-long foreign assistance reform process, supported by both parties, that has made our approach more effective and accountable.
The language in the Senate Committee report highlights one particularly important step: Reforming the procurement policies and practices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in order to “protect taxpayer dollars from waste and fraud”; reduce “our reliance on large, inflexible contracts”; and “work more directly with local governments and civil society to build capacity and develop sustainable programs.” We look forward to working with Congress, aid implementing organizations and USAID Administrator Raj Shah, who is leading the procurement reform effort, to see that further changes are enacted sensibly and carefully in support of greater ownership of the development process by developing countries and citizens.