Policy News Roundup – Proposed Cut to Foreign Affairs Budget

compiled by Eugenia Ho, Global Washington Volunteer


Heated Debate over the Proposed Cut to International Affairs Budget

Thursday, Bloody Thursday: Bono calls out senator over aid cuts

While receiving his Atlantic Council Humanitarian Leadership Award, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of ONE Campaign Bono pleaded for Washington to resist Senator Conrad’s proposed cuts of $4 billion from the $58.8 billion President Obama is requesting for FY11 budget in foreign aid funding.  He said that defense and development, while they are very different, are linked – both are “essential if we really want to build a world that’s more secure, more prosperous, and more just.”  Read full article by Josh Rogin in The Cable

8 out of 8 former Secretaries of State agree (with President Obama’s FY11 $58.5 billion International Affairs Budget Request)

In the ONE Campaign blog, Chris Scott reported that USGLC has posted a letter signed by all eight former Secretaries of State in support of President Obama’s FY11 $58.8 billion International Affairs Budget request.  The letter to Congress emphasizes that “programs funded by the International Affairs Budget provide critical investments in global development, diplomacy and democracy.”  Although the International Affairs budget has had modest increases over the last decade, it still represents less than 1.5 percent of all federal spending.  Therefore, all 8 Secretaries of State stressed that the requested $58.8 billion is essential to achieving the goals of protecting national security, building economic prosperity, and providing humanitarian assistance.

Letter Sent by 8 Former Secretaries of State to Congress:

Check out a copy of the letter here.

Other Development Policy News

The Initiative for Global Development summarizes a few updates on Global Development Policy 

1.  QDDR Interim Report

The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) interim report was discussed at the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee meeting last week, but the date for publication is yet to be confirmed.

2.    Chart by Lael Brainard Highlighting the Need for Reform of U.S. Development Policy. 

Lael Brainard, previously with the Brookings Institution and recently confirmed as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, designed a visual illustration of how the current U.S. Foreign Aid system, which was created in 1961 under the Foreign Assistance Act, is disorganized and creates confusion.

3.  USAID Administrator Raj Shah said:  This Year is a “Once-in-a-Lifetime” Opportunity for Foreign Assistance Reform.

USAID Administrator Raj Shah recently testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations on the FY 2011 budget request for USAID. Shah described this year as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for foreign assistance reform.

4.  MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes’s Three Top Priorities for Furthering the MCC’s Mission of Reducing Poverty Through Economic Growth

On April 14th, MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations on the FY 2011 budget request for the MCC. His three top priorities for furthering the MCC’s mission of reducing poverty through economic growth: “being innovative,” “leveraging partnerships” and “delivering results and showing impact.”

Please see this link for Administration update details.

Haiti on the road to recovery

Ally Pregulman shared the news in One Campaign blog that the Haiti Debt Relief and Earthquake Recovery Act of 2010 was signed into law on April 26, 2010.  This legislation encourages using U.S. influence to cancel Haiti’s remaining debt to international financial institutions, currently totaling $1 billion, and directs these institutions to offer grants rather than loan assistance to Haiti in order to end the debt-relief cycle.