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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will testify this week before four separate congressional committees on the FY13 president’s budget request for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development. The hearings will likely run the gamut of U.S. priorities in national security and foreign policy (all through the lens of budget austerity) and can be expected to hone in on hot button issues like Afghanistan, the Arab spring, and family planning.

But will core development issues – like those around global health, the MCC, Pakistan, migration, foreign aid reform and climate change – find a time to shine during the proceedings?  That’s the million dollar question (or, the $56.2 billion question when it comes to the international affairs account) and I’m hoping these issues won’t go unnoticed.

Full Hearing Webcast Coverage

Here are a few of the questions that I’ll be listening for Secretary Clinton to address before Congress this week:

Global Health: The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) says USAID will assume leadership of the Global Health Initiative (GHI) by September 2012, pending progress on certain benchmarks. What is the status of the USAID benchmark evaluation?  Is the transition of GHI leadership to USAID on track?

Aid reform: The President’s Policy Directive calls for greater selectivity and focus in U.S. development programs. Where will the United States concentrate its FY2013 development resources? Where will it cut back?

MCC: The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) embodies the principles—selectivity, transparency, a focus on growth and impact evaluations—that are now meant to drive all of U.S. development policy.  How will the administration ensure the MCC and other agencies work towards the same goals without duplicating efforts?

Pakistan: The government of Pakistan says trade, not aid, would better support economic development. How is the State Department incorporating U.S. trade policy to support economic development in Pakistan?

Climate Change: What types of activities will the Global Climate Change Initiative fund and how will they help developing countries build resilience and cope with the effects of climate change? Will they be linked with efforts to reduce emissions here in the United States?

Migration: Following the earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. provided aid but not the opportunity to migrate to the United States. CGD senior fellow Michael Clemens argues that expanding opportunities for migration would do more to lift Haitians out of poverty than all the billions of dollars in aid, foreign investment and trade preferences currently provided. Is the administration considering adding migration to its post-disaster assistance toolbox?

What do you hope Congress will ask Secretary Clinton?  Let us know in the comments section below and then tune-in to see what happens.  Either way, these hearings serve as a first opportunity for Congress and others to get more detail on the administration’s budget numbers and the policies and priorities behind them, and we’ll be listening closely.  Check back here next week for a full run down on what we hear.