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Aid effectiveness, US global development policy, US foreign assistance, the Millennium Challenge Account
Sarah Jane Staats was director of CGD’s Rethinking US Foreign Assistance Initiative, a one-stop shop for information and policy analysis on the mission, mandate and organizational structure of US foreign aid and US global development policy. Staats has written on aid effectiveness, the US role in the international financial institutions, and the nexus of US development policy, advocacy and Congress. She previously served as CGD’s director of policy outreach where she led the Center’s engagement with the development policy community, especially senior staff in the U.S. Congress, the US administration and development advocacy NGOs.
Staats previously worked at the US Government Accountability Office (GAO); at InterAction, a coalition of 160 US-based development and humanitarian NGOs; and with the ONE Campaign.
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced a 923-page rewrite of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act last week. He first vowed to rewrite the bill in 2008 when he was chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Unfortunately, Berman has only days left in Congress and the bill won’t go anywhere before he leaves. Still, the draft captures years of thinking about the United States’ legislative approach to foreign assistance and offers a possible blueprint for co-sponsor Gerry Connolly (D-VA) or others to carry forward.
President Barack Obama's re-election gives him four more years to carry out his US global development policy vision. While no one expects the lame duck session to produce mighty development policy, my colleagues and I have a few ideas explained in short videos that could help President Obama and his development team get a running start on his second term.
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.