MCC CEO Yohannes Testifies Before House Appropriators

April 16, 2010 By Matt Corso

A signature part of the International Affairs Budget and an example of modernizing U.S. foreign assistance, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has some pretty strong results under its belt. On Wednesday, MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations in support of the President’s $1.28 billion request, a 16% increase above FY10 funding. Since its inception in 2004, the MCC has made significant progress towards achieving its objectives, launching 20 compacts and 21 threshold agreements, committing nearly $7.5 billion to reduce poverty.  

In his testimony before the subcommittee, Mr. Yohannes expressed his appreciation for the Committee’s support of the MCC’s mission to reduce poverty, noting “I hope you share my belief that smart aid like the aid MCC provides is one of the best investments the United States can make in the prosperity and security of our country and the world.” He stated that the MCC plans to allocate the bulk of the $1.28 billion FY11 budget request for new compacts with Indonesia and Zambia and a second compact with Cape Verde. 

During the hearing, Members of the Subcommittee responded positively to Mr. Yohannes’s testimony and expressed their appreciation for his unique background in working in both the public and private sectors. However, both Chairwoman Lowey (D-NY) and Ranking Member Granger (R-TX) raised concerns over corruption. They asked several questions about how the MCC screens for corruption when picking new compact and threshold countries, and what mechanisms are in place to prevent corruption once the MCC is working in a specific country. Mr. Yohannes assured them that there is an intense screening process in place to prevent corruption and that each of the countries currently involved with the MCC passed this screening process. 

Members attending, in addition to Reps. Lowey and Granger, were Reps. Israel (D-NY), Lee (D-CA), Rehberg (R-MT), and Schiff (D-CA).  Rep. Schiff asked Mr. Yohannes about the rise in emphasis on development and diplomacy in both the QDDR and the PSD, and how that connects with the MCC’s work. Mr. Yohannes responded that the results of both the QDDR and the PSD will hopefully come out sometime this year, saying, “I am waiting, like you, to see the final results.”