Opening Statement of Administrator Samantha Power to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Thank you so much Madame Chairwoman, Ranking Member Rogers, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee.

Just to frame the discussion I hope we can have over the next couple of hours, I would like to start by saying it is no overstatement to say we gather at a profound juncture in history.

For 16 straight years, we’ve seen the number of people living under democratic rule decline—the world is now less free and less peaceful than at any point since the Cold War. And for several years as we have seen vividly, graphically, and horrifically, autocracies have grown increasingly brazen, on the world stage, claiming that they can get things done for their people with a speed and effectiveness that democracies cannot match.

Today, we see just how empty that rhetoric is, and just how dark the road to autocracy can be, from Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on a peaceful neighbor in Ukraine to the People’s Republic of China’s campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. Now, when autocracies are on their back heel, is the moment for the world’s democracies to unite and take a big step forward after so many years of losing ground.

If the world’s free nations, with the United States in the lead, are able to unite the efforts of our allies, the private sector, and our multilateral institutions, and marshal the resources necessary to help our partner nations, we have a chance to extend the reach of peace, prosperity, and human dignity to billions more.

This has been USAID’s mission since its inception six decades ago, and I am truly grateful to you for your continued bipartisan support of our efforts to save lives, strengthen economies, prevent fragility, promote resilience, and to bolster freedom around the world. USAID’s work is a testament to the fact that America cares about the plight of others, that we can competently accomplish mammoth goals that no other country can, and that the work we do abroad also matters to Americans here at home—it makes us safer, makes us more prosperous, and it engenders goodwill that strengthens alliances and global cooperation, and creates a better future for the generations to come.

Thanks to your past support, the United States has helped get more than half a billion COVID-19 vaccines to people in 115 countries; we have led life-saving humanitarian and disaster responses in 68 countries, including Haiti, Ethiopia, and Ukraine; helped enhance pathways for legal migration to the U.S. while working to strengthen worker protections; and we’ve assisted the relocation and resettlement of Afghan colleagues and refugees under the most dire of circumstances, while pivoting our programming in Afghanistan to address ongoing food insecurity and public health needs, and continuing to push to keep women and girls in school. We are also making strides to become much more nimble at a time of immense demands, shoring up a depleted Agency by welcoming new recruits, and operating with greater flexibility.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s FY 2023 discretionary request of $29.4 billion will build on these steps forward, giving us the ability to invest in the people and systems to meet the world’s most significant challenges so the United States can seize this moment in history. Last night, thanks to your bipartisan leadership, the House of Representatives took a major step in that direction by passing a nearly $40 billion package for Ukraine.

Yet the challenges we face are significant. Putin’s war has displaced more than 13 million people, including two-thirds of Ukraine’s children, and has led to serious disruptions to global food, fuel, and fertilizer supplies around the world, further taxing the already overwhelmed international humanitarian system. Two difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic have set back development gains, and despite the United States’ leadership in vaccinating the world, the job remains unfinished. Multi-billion dollar climate shocks appear each year with more frequency. And continued humanitarian crises remain in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Yet as grave as the challenges are, I sincerely believe the opportunity before us is even larger. By providing the resources necessary to seize this moment, the United States can galvanize commitments from our allies and our private sector partners, and demonstrate to the world that democracies can deliver in a way that autocracies cannot. These actions are the key to reversing years of democratic decline and creating a more stable, peaceful, prosperous, and stable future for people at home and abroad.

With your support, USAID will move aggressively to grasp this opportunity to build a brighter future for us all. Thank you.

Chamber 
House
Committee 
Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Last updated: May 20, 2022

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