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USAID Administrator Samantha Power speaks at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Power Play: USAID's Administrator Makes the Case for Global Engagement, More Focus on Effectiveness

USAID Administrator Samantha Power appeared before House and Senate authorizing committees late last week to discuss the agency’s FY22 budget. It wasn’t surprising to hear Administrator Power make a case for strong US global engagement—including robust aid investments and continued commitment to humanitarian response. But she also demonstrated—in a number of important ways—a clear-eyed focus on development effectiveness. Below we highlight several issues we were glad to see receive attention.  

A photo of the US capitol building

Biden’s First Budget: What the FY22 Request Could Mean for Development Policy

The recently released FY22 budget request includes more than $63.6 billion in international affairs spending, a more than 10 percent increase over the FY21 level absent the emergency spending provided in the end-of-year consolidated appropriations bill and supplemental funding included in the American Rescue Plan, the massive COVID relief package signed into law in March. Here’s a rundown of some of what we’ve learned about the administration’s overarching ambition and plans for future US development policy.

An image of money from the government as part of COVID-19 relief

A Global Pandemic Needs A Global Response: US Contributions to COVID Relief

The American Rescue Plan—the massive COVID-19 relief package recently signed into law—has featured in plenty of headlines. While the vast majority of the nearly $1.9 trillion package is allocated to domestic relief and response, the legislation provides nearly $11 billion in supplemental international affairs spending. We dug in to see how this new injection of funding compares to emergency foreign assistance provided under previous pandemic-related legislation and share some areas we hope to see USAID and the State Department prioritize as they work to put the new money to good use.

An empty classroom in Sikkim, India

US Congress Raises Alarm on Global Learning Loss and Inequality

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently advanced the Global Learning Loss Assessment Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation shines a light on the critical issue of learning loss—and the impacts of disrupted education more broadly—as schools around the world closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a quick overview of the evidence to date—and why it’s important that lawmakers (and USAID) are casting a watchful eye on global learning and inequality.

Joe Biden speaking at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention in Altoona, Iowa. Photo by Gage Skidmore / via Wikimedia Commons

$1.9 Trillion and No Money for the Multilateral Development Banks?

The Biden administration and the Congress rightly went big in the recently passed American Rescue Plan at a time of tremendous need. The package was appropriately focused on the domestic side, but it did not neglect the rest of the world. One might reasonably ask then why $1 billion or $2 billion could not have been included for fighting the poverty, food insecurity, and health crises driven by the pandemic. That would have amounted 0.05 to 0.1 percent of the total package. And it would have been multiplied many times over in additional poverty reduction dollars, because that it was the MDB model does.