A transactional approach to aid has a prescribed, limited role that can achieve or support U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. Development and humanitarian assistance, however, must remain based on core U.S. values, evidence and program performance, and a long-term strategy; these forms of assistance should not be used for transactional purposes.

Any foreign aid policies should incorporate MFAN’s dual pillars of accountability and country ownership as guiding principles for U.S. foreign assistance.  The Trump administration has sought to make development and humanitarian assistance an overt political instrument representing the White House’s short-term domestic interests and adversity to longstanding investments in foreign aid. These actions abandon accountability and commitment to the long-term, strategic goals of U.S. foreign assistance.

Significant evidence shows that such development assistance is most effective when funded at relatively stable levels and for multiple years. In contrast, sharp and unexpected reductions in cuts —and even the threat of such cuts — can harm effectiveness and undermine development gains. MFAN and its members have highlighted case studies that demonstrate the importance of stability in foreign aid funding and highlight how sudden or drastic foreign assistance cuts can impact the lives of the most poor and vulnerable people in developing countries.

To counter politicized, unreasonable cuts and the transactional treatment of U.S. aid, MFAN speaks out against last-minute rescissions, reckless budget requests,  and the withholding or conditioning of funds.

Read more:

Opinion: The hidden cost of cuts — how slashing foreign aid is wasteful and ineffective, Larry Nowels and Conor Savoy, Devex, February 21, 2020

Types of Foreign Assistance and American Interests, MFAN

Roadblock on the Journey to Self-Reliance: Budget Cuts, Budget Uncertainty, and Bureaucratic Delays, Catholic Relief Services

The Impact of Proposed US Foreign Assistance Cuts (four country case studies), Publish What You Fund

We’re seeing the effects of budget instability on the ground, Bill O’Keefe for MFAN

Finally, a federal budget, but the wreckage is real, Bill O’Keefe, The Hill, December 30, 2019

America needs smart foreign aid budget for successful programs, The Hill, December 13, 2018

MFAN statements:

MFAN Hails Reinstatement of U.S. Assistance to Central America, but Joins Call for Study on Lost Resources and Impact, April 23, 2020

Final Foreign Aid Spending Bill Includes Safeguards against Instrumentalization of U.S. Assistance, December 18, 2019

MFAN Urges Administration Officials to Resist Threat of Foreign Aid Rescissions, August 9, 2019

MFAN letter to Secretary Pompeo expressing concern over Northern Triangle cuts, June 24, 2019

President Trump’s Attempt to Block Aid to Central America Reflects Ineffective Use of American Resources, Influence, April 2, 2019

Trump Administration Again Slashes Resources for Effective Development and Diplomacy, March 12, 2019

Destabilizing Rescissions to Foreign Aid Funds Reportedly Halted, August 29, 2018