November 15, 2013

International Affairs Budget Update, 11-15-13

1.    Reform Legislation Moves Forward in Senate

Yesterday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved by voice vote the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (S. 1271) –  sponsored by Committee members Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).  The bill would codify and expand the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and require the Administration to set interagency guidelines for U.S. foreign assistance programs—including metrics for monitoring and evaluation.  The Committee also approved by voice vote an amendment sponsored by Senators Rubio and Cardin that exempts security sector assistance from the evaluation guideline requirements set out in the Act so long as the President is already implementing similar measures for security assistance evaluation and briefs Congress on those measures.

USGLC issued a press release applauding the approval of the bipartisan bill, noting that it “builds on the important reforms being undertaken by USAID and those modeled by the MCC to ensure the highest standards for transparency and results for international affairs programs.” A largely identical version of the bill – sponsored by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) – passed the House last December.  Representatives Poe and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) reintroduced that bill this year and it awaits action by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

2.    Update on Nominations

Following several nomination hearings over the last three weeks for posts relating to International Affairs programs, yesterday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved eleven nominations by voice vote.  Among others, the Committee approved:

  • Heather Higginbottom to be Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources;
  • Carolyn Hessler-Radelet to be Director of the Peace Corps;
  • Daniel Yohannes, outgoing CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), to be the U.S. representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);
  • Dr. Sarah Sewall to be Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights; and
  • Richard Stengel to be Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy.

Another confirmation hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, November 19th, to consider Dana Hyde to be the new CEO of the MCC.

3.     USGLC Members Respond to Typhoon Haiyan

After the devastating typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines last week, humanitarian organizations – including many USGLC members – and the U.S. government have mobilized to provide food, shelter, and medical treatment to the 11.8 million Filipinos affected by the disaster.  For more information on organizations taking action, we commend our colleagues at InterAction for offering a central location for Americans to find ways to volunteer for or donate to relief efforts.