November 10, 2009

DODD-DURBIN-CARDIN RESOLUTION TO STRENGTHEN USAID PASSES SENATE

WASHINGTON, D.C. -A resolution introduced by Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to empower and strengthen the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) passed the Senate last night by unanimous consent.

 

"For the sake of our national security and to fulfill our moral obligation to reduce global poverty, we need a strong USAID Administrator in place now to oversee the vital functions of our primary development agency.  The message from the Senate is clear:  development and foreign assistance comprise a vital pillar of our foreign policy, therefore USAID must be given the authority, as well as the resources and  personnel, required to accomplish its mission on behalf of the American people," said Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations International Development and Foreign Assistance Subcommittee. 

 

" If U.S. development policy and, by extension, U.S. foreign policy is to succeed in the long run, USAID must be an independent body that can advocate for what it knows best-how to effectively deliver and implement U.S. foreign assistance. It must have a meaningful seat at the table," said Dodd, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a Senate floor statement. " It has long been understood that international development is a critically important aspect of our foreign policy.  It was high time we matched this reality with a real and meaningful commitment."

 

"Foreign development assistance is as critical to America's standing in the world as diplomacy and defense. It not only provides aid to those most in need but is also a symbol of American values," said Durbin, the author of the Increasing America's Global Development Capacity Act (S.355). "As our development assistance grows, so does the need for an influential and transformative Administrator at USAID. Military and civilian leaders both agree: a strong development strategy is critical for our long term success."

 

"As the son of a career Foreign Service officer, I know the importance of establishing strong U.S. partnerships abroad," said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a lead cosponsor of the measure. ''New and effective leadership at USAID is urgently needed to reinvigorate the agency and increase the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance efforts in critical countries such as Afghanistan and throughout the world.''

 

The resolution calls for the swift appointment of a "powerful advocate and effective leader" to be USAID administrator, who will serve as the chief advocate for United States development policy and strategy, and for the Senate to provide adequate resources to an empowered USAID to hire additional Foreign Service officers and support staff.

 

In total, the legislation has 20 cosponsors, including Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.