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Corker Statement at Hearing on USAID Resources and Redesign

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today made the following statement during a hearing on resources and redesign of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID Administrator Mark Green testified on the agency’s transformation plan to better focus foreign assistance on helping countries become self-reliant.            

“The United States Agency for International Development is the agency that carries out the lion’s share of U.S. humanitarian and development foreign assistance.

“We have invited USAID Administrator Mark Green here today to review the agency’s programs and resources, as well as the proposed redesign of the agency.

“Some on the committee will no doubt use their time to highlight the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, but given that Congress decides funding levels despite the request—really the president’s request is not relevant to what we’ll be doing. I don’t mean that with any disrespect. So I hope that the hearing will focus on more relevant issues since [the president’s request] will not be part of what Congress takes up.

“However, I would take this time to applaud the administration for requesting to eliminate funds for the Title II Food for Peace program as authorized in the Farm Bill, in favor of the more efficient Emergency Food Security Program or EFSP.

“I appreciate the administration acknowledging how absurdly inefficient Title II of the Farm Bill is—with only 30 cents on the dollar going to food itself—while retaining the EFSP that gives us the flexibility to work in areas that Title II assistance simply cannot reach—areas that are directly tied to U.S. national security.

“Finally, I want to thank Administrator Green for the outstanding level of consultation with our committee on USAID’s pending transformation plans.

“It would be helpful to discuss how the plan realigns USAID structure to better focus on core competencies of the agency, such as our humanitarian programs that aid the unprecedented millions now displaced by ongoing human conflict.

“As part of the roll out of the transformation, USAID just released its new metrics for the journey to self-reliance—a promising initiative to reconnect our development programs with the whole point of why we do them: helping countries grow past a reliance on foreign assistance.

“There’s also been some discussion regarding democracy programming, and, given your extensive background directing such programming, we should hear today how the proposed structure and metrics will favor democracy and good governance.

“With that, we look forward to your testimony. We thank you for your service. I think on both sides of the aisle people are uplifted and proud that you’re our USAID administrator.”

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