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Erin Collinson is director of Policy Outreach at CGD. Prior to joining the CGD staff, she spent over five years working in the US Senate. Originally from the Chicago area, Collinson holds a Master of Development Practice degree from the University of Minnesota and a BA in Environmental Policy from Denison University.
President Trump and many congressional Republicans have made no secret of their strong interest in dismantling “Dodd-Frank,” a law signed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to strengthen regulation of the financial industry in the United States. But it’s a small, seemingly peripheral, transparency provision focused on developing countries that’s poised to be one of the law’s earliest casualties. Congress quietly voted last week to torpedo implementation of a rule that would require U.S. firms to disclose payments made to foreign governments for the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted yesterday to give the greenlight to Rex Tillerson’s nomination for Secretary of State. Assuming he is confirmed by the full Senate—which at this point is all but certain—Tillerson will play a critical role in shaping US foreign policy from the helm of the State Department with important implications for global development. While, like other nominees, some of Tillerson’s stated positions appear out of sync with those espoused by President Trump, it’s worth examining where Tillerson is on the record when it comes to issues of development and humanitarian relief.
CGD experts have penned memos on proposals to improve US development policy that we hope the next president will prioritize once in office. These are bipartisan ideas that could make a big difference for people in the developing world. The proposals come from our teams working on the US Development Policy Initiative, Global Health, and Gender.
Attention presidential transition teams: the Rethinking US Development Policy team at the Center for Global Development strongly urges you to include these three big ideas in your first year budget submission to Congress and pursue these three smart reforms during your first year.
Since its establishment more than 54 years ago, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expanded into an $18-billion-a-year agency, operating in over 145 countries and in nearly every development sector. But USAID is often constrained in its ability to adapt to emerging development challenges due to differing political priorities among key stakeholders and resource constraints. This memo is the result of a roundtable discussion in July 2016 on how the next US administration, in close concert with Congress, can build upon and maximize the development impact of USAID.
Congress has officially departed Washington for the summer, leaving behind a lengthy to-do list for September. In the final weeks of session, both chambers clamored to advance spending bills for the 2017 fiscal year. Though draft bills funding the State Department and foreign assistance were among the last to emerge, both House and Senate Appropriations Committees managed to report out measures before the clock struck recess. So without further ado, here’s a quick rundown of what caught our attention as we sifted through pages of bill text and report language.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently took an interest in one key form of foreign aid—US economic assistance—convening a hearing to investigate the topic. We had high hopes going in and were pleased to hear all three of the hearing’s witnesses—Jeffrey Herbst, Alicia Phillips Mandaville, and CGD’s Todd Moss—champion the use of rigorous analysis, evaluation, and selectivity in aid to promote economic opportunity in developing countries.
With election-year events crowding out the legislative calendar, there’s only so many more opportunities for the Senate to show its commitment to development and its interest in improving US development policy. Legislators still have a week and a half in town, and we were encouraged to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee fit in an important hearing on the role of US foreign aid in spurring economic growth.
Policy wonks usually bemoan the lack of a functional budget and appropriations process. This year, however, CGD’s policy outreach team is (reluctantly) crossing its fingers for a continuing resolution—an outcome that seems increasingly likely with only eight legislative weeks before the end of the fiscal year.
While we don’t often blog congressional hearings, yesterday’s discussion of “The Budget, Diplomacy, and Development” in the House Foreign Affairs Committee struck us as especially important given the uncertainty facing the foreign assistance budget: the level of consensus in acknowledging that deep cuts to the international affairs budget would be unwise and undermine US interests felt remarkable.
One of the biggest years for global development has come to a close, but it left us with plenty to look forward to in 2016 and beyond. Keeping with CGD’s annual tradition, we polled our colleagues to come up with predictions of what’s going to be hot and not in development (and otherwise) this year based on trends we saw in 2015.
While you might not know it from the weather, there’s at least one sure sign it’s December in DC. No, we’re not referring to the oversized and ornamented evergreens on the Capitol and White House lawns, but to the recent mad dash by Congress to wrap up remaining legislative business before the end of session. Despite a year marked by bitter partisanship, Congress managed to arrive at an agreement to fund the federal government through the rest of FY2016.