This week, the White House unveiled the first National Security Strategy of the Trump administration. As always, we were eager to see how the strategy considered the role of development. While there’s a lot to unpack in the 68-page document, here are few things that caught our eye.
CGD Policy Blogs
The US Department of the Interior announced last week that the United States would no longer seek to comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international multi-stakeholder organization that aims to increase revenue transparency and accountability in natural resource extraction. The move—while disappointing—is not altogether unexpected. And sadly, it will put the United States further behind the curve when it comes to corporate transparency.
The very same week that USAID and the Department of State submitted a joint redesign plan to the Office of Management and Budget, the coauthors of four recent reform proposals packed the CGD stage for a timely debate. Fragmentation, inclusive economic growth, humanitarian assistance and fragile states, global health, and country graduation were a few of the big questions that panel members grappled with as they authored their reports.
Ambassador Mark Green—President Trump’s pick to lead the US Agency for International Development (USAID)—is slated to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his nomination hearing on Thursday morning. Drawing on themes of efficiency, effectiveness, accountability, and results, here are a few questions we’d pose to Ambassador Green (and a few of the things we’d love to hear in response).
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is likely to face some tough critics when he heads to Capitol Hill this week. In his first appearance(s) before Congress since his January confirmation hearing, Secretary Tillerson will have the unenviable task of defending a deeply unpopular FY2018 budget request for international affairs.
The White House delivered an FY2018 budget request, featuring deep spending reductions, to a less-than-receptive Congress early last week. In a series of blog posts, CGD experts sounded off on the proposed cuts to foreign aid and the philosophy that seems to guide them—including the administration’s plans to shutter the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, continued support for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the merits and potential downsides of a proposal to shift some security assistance from grants to loans.
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.
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.
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.
The Trump Administration’s skinny budget is a bit of a public relations exercise in trying to have it both ways on the 150 Account, as observed by our colleague Scott Morris. We’re going to cut dramatically to “prioritize” Americans, but wait, it’s really just a minor reform and rightsizing to get rid of some duplications!