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.
CGD Policy Blogs
The Trump administration has had very little to say about foreign assistance, apparently preferring to let the budget knife do its talking. But if we want to discern some sort of guiding philosophy to aid coming from this White House, perhaps we should look no further than aid to Israel and Egypt, the number one and number two overall US foreign aid recipients. In a budget that imposes double-digit cuts to programs aimed at disease eradication and response to humanitarian crises, military aid to these two countries has been cut not even by a whisker.
Global development isn't exactly a campaign issue. But we at CGD hope it's a policy area both presidential transition teams are taking very seriously. The next US president will need to confront and prevent crises where our development and humanitarian assistance is a far more useful (and less expensive) response than guns and bombs. To that end, led by Scott Morris, we at the CGD Rethinking US Development Policy program put together a short memo to the transition teams.
On January 12, 2010, Haiti experienced a 7.0M earthquake, killing over 200,000 people and making several million homeless. In the years that followed, the US committed over $3 billion in taxpayer funds to help Haitians cope with this enormous disaster. Between 2012 and 2014, my coauthor Julie Walz and I spent countless hours trying to figure out where all the money had gone.
The FY17 State and Foreign Operations spending bill brought good news for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with big implications for its operations. New authority to engage in concurrent compacts in a single country would enable MCC to operate on a regional level, and provisions adjusting the criteria MCC uses to select partner countries could influence where MCC works. These are reasonable (even good!) ideas in theory, but the proposed eligibility requirement gives me some pause and could be challenging to apply in practice.
While recent aid transparency buzz has largely revolved around the latest donor rankings, MCC (always a top ranked donor) has been busy quietly raising the transparency bar yet again. The latest display of commendable openness? A concise report on closeout economic rate of return (ERR) for 94 projects in 10 compacts, as well as compiled data on original ERRs for 45 projects in 11 open compacts.
After two and a half great years as director of CGD’s Rethinking US Development Policy initiative, I’m handing over the reins to my colleague Scott Morris. Many of you will know Scott as a CGD Senior Fellow with deep experience from the Treasury and on Capitol Hill. He’s a thought leader on many US development issues, especially the multilateral development banks and international debt. Rethink could not be in better hands as we start thinking about a new administration and Co
Last night, the State Department released the latest batch of emails from Hillary Clinton's personal account related to her work as Secretary of State. The bad news: the content appears to reflect limited interest in international development. The good news is that the emails do suggest an early and high level interest in getting USAID to deliver better through improved contracting.
Congress apparently isn’t getting the data it wants from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC. That makes two of us. The House Appropriations Committee is now calling for OPIC to provide reporting on the volume and destination of all new loans, guarantees, and insurance transactions.
Dr. Raj Shah has officially left the building. USAID’s headquarters in the Ronald Reagan building that is. He has a long list of accomplishments to take with him.