Congressional Testimony

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Budget Hearing - Assistance to Central America"

Ms. Chairman, Ranking Member Lowey, and members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the invitation to testify today. I am grateful for the Committee’s interest in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s work in Central America and I am pleased to have this opportunity to update you on our efforts to address the root causes of the migration crisis in Central America.

As Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt testified last week, USAID’s mission across the globe is to partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. In Central America, USAID assistance has been an important part of this effort.  For example, past programming has expanded financing for small businesses and supported macroeconomic policies to reduce inequities and improve access to quality health and education. We have seen political, social, and economic advances in countries like Costa Rica and Panama.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

President Barack Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request of $383.4 million for South Asia reflects our sustained commitment to the region through a steady level of funding over the past few fiscal years. In more than 100 countries around the world, including 32 in Asia, U.S. development assistance plays a vital role in building the foundations for lasting economic prosperity, fostering democratic values and combatting the causes of instability that pose threats not only in far-off places, but also here on our own shores — threats such as profound human suffering, more frequent and intense storms that erase gains and set back whole societies, and weak systems of governance that continually fail to meet the needs of the people. USAID is expanding stable, free societies that provide lasting alternatives to otherwise destabilizing forces, while also creating markets and trade partners for the United States and fostering goodwill abroad — all with less than 1 percent of the total federal budget.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ultimately, our investment in development represents the vanguard of our economic strength, moral leadership, and national security. At the same time, it advances an unprecedented global fight to end extreme poverty. Since the dawn of humanity, extreme poverty has crowded at the heels of progress—stifling hopes and undermining growth across the centuries. But today, we stand within reach of a world that was simply once unimaginable: a world without extreme poverty and its most devastating consequences, including chronic hunger and child death. As President Obama said at the United Nations General Assembly, “America is committed to a development agenda that eradicates extreme poverty by 2030. We will do our part to help people feed themselves, power their economies, strengthen their policies, and care for their sick. If the world acts together, we can make sure that all of our children enjoy lives of opportunity and dignity.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thanks to bipartisan support in Congress and from the American people, USAID is responding to unprecedented development challenges, including some of the most pressing events unfolding on the world stage today. By partnering to end extreme poverty, reduce state fragility, and promote resilient democratic societies, we help developing countries transform into peaceful, open, and flourishing partners for our nation.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Syrian crisis is the largest and most complex humanitarian emergency of our time. The emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has exacerbated an already protracted crisis in Syria, where the Assad regime has waged an unrelenting campaign of bloodshed against its own people for four years.

The humanitarian situation grows more complex every day. There are more than 12.2 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance— more than half of Syria’s pre-war population, and equal to the combined populations of New York City and Los Angeles. According to the United Nations (UN), Syrians are now the largest refugee population in the world under the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. One in five people displaced globally is Syrian.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In our fight against Ebola, we have seen great suffering, but also scenes of survival and resilience. Patients can beat this disease. The U.S. government in collaboration with our international partners, including many volunteers and NGOs, can beat this disease. To get to zero, we must remain vigilant. This unprecedented epidemic has required a herculean global effort. And we have seen how America’s leadership galvanized a worldwide response from governments, NGOs, and volunteers. Ebola underscores the importance of tackling fragility and extreme poverty in these poor countries. It quickly debilitates weak institutions and systems, wreaking havoc in communities least prepared to fend off the disease. We strive to not only reach our goal of getting to zero Ebola cases in West Africa, but strengthen health systems, enable societies to fend off future threats, and allow those who lost ground to return to a path of prosperity and stability. These efforts are core to USAID’s mission to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. They are also critical to America’s interests and security at home and abroad.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Forging strong partnerships will be critical to meet the immense challenges and needs ahead in Iraq and Syria. As part of our commitment to ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies, USAID will continue to provide life-saving, needs-based assistance and protect and empower women and minorities, while pushing to secure access to additional populations currently trapped in areas controlled by ISIL. Our hearts are with the thousands of people who remain trapped in unsustainable situations, and we are gravely concerned for the health and safety of these displaced men, women, and children, besieged by acts of violence committed by ISIL, the Syrian regime, and other extremists.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This unprecedented crisis underscores the importance of tackling fragility and extreme poverty. Ebola preys on weak systems, wreaking havoc in communities least prepared to fend off the disease. That is why we must work not only to control the epidemic at its source in West Africa, but to bolster our global health systems. These investments are critical if we are to avoid having future outbreaks that follow a similarly devastating and costly path. This effort is core to USAID’s mission to both end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies that advance our global security and prosperity.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Today, 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity. Hospitals cannot function optimally. Businesses cannot open and children cannot read after dark. Food rots before it makes it to market. But it does not have to be this way. Together with our partners in Congress, Africa, other donor nations, and private businesses, Power Africa is working to greatly increase access to reliable, cleaner energy in Africa.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Today, as you know, the world faces the largest and most-protracted Ebola epidemic in history. This devastating virus has infected more than 14,000 people and killed more than 5,000 people across West Africa. The epidemic has spread through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—countries with fragile health and economic systems and recent histories of civil war or political instability. In addition, the Ebola virus has spilled over into three neighboring countries where the response has been swift.

Most of the families that have been affected already live in desperate circumstances, where securing clean water and food is a daily struggle. In Liberia alone, 58 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty with very few assets to help them cope. It is within this context that Ebola has emerged—threatening our global security and economy. It represents a national security priority for the United States and every other nation in the world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The United States has been combating the Ebola epidemic since the first cases were reported in March, and we have expanded our efforts and increased personnel in the region as the crisis has unfolded. More than 120 specialists from across the U.S. government are on the ground in West Africa to prevent, detect, and stop the spread of this disease. USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team—or DART—to the region to oversee and coordinate the U.S. response, providing logistics, planning, program, and operational support to the affected countries; drawing forth critical assets and resources from several U.S. departments and agencies.

Through a whole-of-government approach, we’re mounting an aggressive U.S. effort to fight this epidemic and have devised a clear strategy with four key pillars to stop this epic crisis: controlling the epidemic; mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls; coordinating the U.S. and broader global response; and fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond.

Pages

Last updated: April 01, 2015

Subscribe to Congressional Testimony