WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the International Development and Foreign Assistance Subcommittee, today held a full Committee hearing on the policy priorities in the international development Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget. At the Foreign Relations hearing, Administrator Rajiv Shah of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yohannes of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) testified on the critical international development priorities supported by the International Affairs Budget, specifically the USAID and MCC budget request.
“Never before has United States faced such a complex set of global challenges – from global food insecurity and mounting humanitarian crises, pandemics to the rise of extremism, crippling poverty to the consequences of climate change” said Senator Cardin. “The cost-effective and long-term solution to these challenges is our investment in global development. It is also imperative that these programs show our commitment to promoting both gender equity and good governance in the countries which receive this assistance to ensure that it is spent most efficiently and effectively.
“Unfortunately, these enormous challenges come at a time when we are dealing with serious budget deficits that will only be solved through tough choices. But disproportionate cuts to these programs won’t solve the budget crisis.
“These cuts would have real consequences. It would affect the 5 million children who could be denied treatment for malaria; 400,000 people would be turned away from life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS; and, farmers would lose access to the seeds, soils, and technical assistance that make their farms viable in the economy,” said Senator Cardin. “These individual impacts, taken collectively, will affect global political and economic stability and security. These cuts would have real, negative ramifications for U.S. interests abroad and severely damage our efforts to promote human rights, democracy and free markets, which in turn, will lead to more instability, at – ironically – greater costs for U.S. taxpayers.
“I strongly believe that our focus on development should complement the commitment we currently show to defense and diplomacy – the critical ‘3 Ds’ of foreign policy – to fulfill our moral obligation to help reduce global poverty while strengthening America’s national security.”