November 10, 2020 (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.
Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its Fiscal Year 2021 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill. This bill is a significant new investment in American foreign assistance, and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network commends the robust level of foreign assistance funding in the bill. MFAN continues to urge Congress to include significant additional resources in any further supplemental appropriations bills to address the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MFAN further recognizes the bill’s important investment in USAID’s capacity to carry out oversight of its programs, including the inclusion of $1.39 billion in resources for USAID Operating Expenses (OE), an increase of $15 million over the FY20 enacted level.
MFAN also thanks the Committee for its strong commitment to the success of the new Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The bill includes increased program funding and important report language reasserting the importance of the DFC’s development mandate. However, while MFAN supports the Committee’s efforts to give DFC increased ability to make equity investments, the coalition is concerned that the Senate bill’s substantial increase in appropriations for DFC’s equity investments may negatively impact other important foreign assistance priorities. MFAN encourages Congress and the Executive Branch to redouble efforts to find a path forward for scoring DFC’s equity investments in a manner that allows the DFC to more efficiently leverage the funds that Congress appropriates.
MFAN congratulates Chairmen Shelby and Graham and their staff for their work on this important legislation and looks forward to continuing to work with Chairman Shelby, Chairman Graham, Vice Chairman Leahy, and all members of the committee to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of U.S. foreign assistance.