June 15, 2017

Corker Opening Statement at Nomination Hearing for Mark Green to Serve as USAID Administrator

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered the following remarks at a hearing to consider the nomination of former U.S. Ambassador Mark Green to serve as administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Ambassador Green, thank you so much for joining us today.

“This is not the first time you have to testified before this committee, and you are certainly no stranger to the halls of the Capitol.

“You have a long and diverse history in both public service and international development, and I am very pleased with your nomination to be the next USAID administrator and know that you will bring significant expertise and understanding to this new role.

“With a budget of over $25 billion, USAID represents about 46 percent of our international affairs activities but just over half of one percent of the total U.S. federal budget.

“USAID has an important mission and many of its programs have stabilizing effects in regions of the world where we have national security interests.

“And while I know there has been much discussion about the president’s budget request, and as I’ve said before, it is the role of Congress to fund the federal government, not the administration.

“So, instead of focusing on that, I think we would be better served to shift our focus away from what can be done towards what should be done.

“I’m reminded of something Secretary Tillerson said at Tuesday’s budget hearing: ‘Funding does not equal results. Show me your results, and I'll tell you your commitment...’

“And I just want to say I know that is something that you are very focused on, and that is why we’re all so proud that you’re our nominee.

“That is why I am encouraged by the statement in your testimony — that you, as USAID administrator, would set a higher standard for accountability and achieving results.

“I agree with you that we can create significant change by focusing on economic growth in a developing world.

“We should look for appropriate ways to leverage shared private and public sector interest in eliminating constraints to trade and investment. Creating business environments that will attract investment in the developing world should be our priority.

“This committee has a long history of bipartisanship – which we’re going to demonstrate in a really sound way today on the floor – when it comes to oversight of our foreign assistance with the passage of legislation enacting important reforms, such as the Global Food Security Act, Electrify Africa, and the Water for the World Act.

“Should you be confirmed, I am confident that we would find a willing partner in our oversight and reform efforts.

“To that end, I want to highlight today one of the most impactful aid reforms that is achievable during this Congress: modernizing our food aid.

“Food for Peace has been operating under decades-old requirements to use 100 percent U.S. farm commodities, 50 percent of which must be shipped on overpriced, uncompetitive U.S. flagged vessels.

“If we could modernize the program with increased flexibility in food aid delivery while still maintaining a significant role for the U.S. farmer, who cares deeply, deeply about people in need, we could feed 5 to 8 million more people a day with the exact same funding.

“I know you are very aware of that, and I really feel the time is here for us to address that issue. 

“Food for Peace is authorized in the farm bill that is being reauthorized next year, and if you are confirmed as administrator, I would seek your commitment to working with us and the agriculture committees and others to modernize the program for the 21st century.

“Thank you for coming here today. 

“I know you have important family members who we were honored to meet back behind the podium. 

“We look forward to you introducing them. We look forward to your testimony. We look forward to you serving in this important role.”

Click here for complete testimony and video footage of the hearing.