Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Tag: Budget

 

Shutdown Shenanigans

I sat down to add to the growing pile of shutdown analyses (and diatribes) but then realized my former colleagues had already done it for me. Granted, Sarah Jane Staats and Connie Veillette wrote this blog back in 2011 on the eve of the last almost-shutdown but their concerns on what a shutdown means for development remain relevant.

FY14 State and Foreign Ops Appropriations: A Development Wonk’s Primer

This is a joint post with Beth Schwanke.

On Capitol Hill, this time of year is marked by hot, sticky weather and a mad scramble (or is it more of a leisurely stroll this year?) to advance the appropriations process before Members of Congress head back to their districts for the August recess. There’s little doubt that the current political and budget climate, complete with automatic sequestration cuts, is complicating this already herculean task.

Foreign Aid in Congress: Five Contradictions

I was pleasantly surprised by the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last week on the FY2014 USAID and MCC budgets. I expected a remix of the partisan spats I watched two years ago. Instead, there was impressive congressional turnout plus serious questions and thorough answers. There was even some friendly competition between USAID and MCC. But five contradictions come up anytime foreign aid is on the Hill and the latest budget hearing was no exception.

Foreign Aid Remix: Yohannes and Shah Head Back to the Hill

MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah are heading back to Capitol Hill Thursday to testify together before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I expect Yohannes and Shah will sing different parts of the same tune: the United States is prepared to do more with less as it strives to fulfill the administration’s global development vision. But it should also be a remix of their joint hearing two years ago with questions on how Congress should prioritize among US development programs. Shah and Yohannes can hit some new high notes on how their agencies are being selective with aid dollars, sharing more aid data and doing better evaluation. They should also be clear about the differences between USAID and MCC. And let’s hope the committee members can avoid the low notes from two years ago when partisan spats (including some in Latin) marred what could have been an important development policy conversation between the executive branch and Congress.

Kerry on US Development Investments: Doing More with Less

The $52 billion FY2014 international affairs budget request is a small investment with big returns for the United States and the world, Secretary of State John Kerry said in congressional hearings last week.  The request is the same amount Congress allocated in FY2013 and a four percent cut from FY2012. Kerry told members of Congress that the State Department and USAID are prepared to do more with less.

It’s Halftime at the Global Fund

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria recently announced an ambitious goal of raising $15 billion in its fourth replenishment later this year, of which they hope the United States will contribute one-third ($5 billion, or $1.65 billion a year for three years).  So I was interested to see these two sentences tucked into the White House’s 2014 budget request: 

A Scalpel, Not an Ax, for President’s FY14 Foreign Aid Budget

President Obama's total FY2014 international affairs budget request--$52 billion--looks a lot like what was left for international affairs in FY2013 after sequestration. But the administration uses a scalpel, not an ax, to get there in FY2014. The FY2014 budget, if approved, shifts significant resources away from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and concentrates spending on food security, global health and multilateral investments. And the big news, of course, is an overhaul of US food aid.
 

I see three signs the president’s scalpel is guided by his 2010 Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development (PPD) (and I owe a huge debt to the always-stellar USGLC budget analysis from Larry Nowels and others):

The Budget Is Coming: Expectations High for Foreign Aid Reform

President Obama is set to release his FY2014 budget request tomorrow and expectations for foreign aid reform are high. At the top of the list is a widely-anticipated overhaul of US food aid that my colleague Kim Elliott says could be a bipartisan proposal that shakes up the status quo (and saves money and lives, too). Meanwhile, USAID has hinted that the budget will show some reductions in country program areas that either no longer need USAID to continue or were too small to have an impact.  The request will also matter for the MCC, which has a record number of countries eligible for compacts  but could be facing near record low funding. And I’ll be looking for signs that the budget reflects the president’s global development priorities outlined in the Presidential Policy Directive, including a focus on economic growth and results, leadership in the multilateral development banks and progress on food security. More than anything, I’m hoping the budget request shows a smarter way to rethink US foreign aid than the across-the-board sequestration cuts.

I hope you’ll help us read through the budget request tomorrow and share your views on whether it meets, exceeds or falls short of expectations.

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