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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.
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.
For some time, we’ve been cheering MCC’s interest in pursuing approaches that pay for outcomes and encouraging the agency’s stakeholders to get onboard (here and here). Now we can applaud an important step forward. The agency’s new compact with Morocco, which both partners celebrated at an event last Thursday in Rabat, spells out the potential for a results-based financing component—a welcome development.
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.
The President’s FY16 budget request launches what is sure to be an especially excruciating budget and appropriations process this year with battles over sequestration cuts not yet resolved and Republicans in control of Congress.
The Trump administration delivered its FY 2019 budget request to Capitol Hill this week. Containing deep cuts to the international affairs budget, it looks a lot like a repeat of the FY 2018 request. And with a 30 percent reduction in topline spending, few programs were spared. Meanwhile, buried among the rubble are smart reform ideas that run the risk of being overshadowed—or even undermined—by the depth of the proposed spending reductions.
Congress has officially wrapped up the FY2017 appropriations process—a mere seven months behind schedule. Much has changed since last fall, including the rhetoric on US foreign aid spending from the sitting administration. And big questions have been swirling about whether the bipartisan consensus in Congress on the importance of effective foreign assistance will hold in this new environment. At least in very short term, the answer appears to be yes.
The full budget features a 32 percent cut to topline funding for the Department of State and Foreign Operations, leaving few programs that would completely escape the axe. It’s hard to read this as a good deal for anyone.