Congressional Testimony

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The U.S. government, including many members of Congress, has been a strong supporter of the welfare of the people of South Sudan for decades—throughout Sudan’s civil war, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement period, and since independence in 2011. We are all deeply alarmed by the horrific violence now threatening their hard-won struggle for independence—especially today, which marks just the third anniversary of South Sudan’s referendum, in which an overwhelming 99 percent of the South Sudanese people voted to form the world’s youngest nation. The people of South Sudan have endured far too many years of conflict and bloodshed to see peace slip away.

The outbreak of hostilities on December 15 has since erupted into heavy fighting across seven of South Sudan’s 10 states. This fighting is the result of longstanding, deeply rooted grievances in a fragile new state with nascent institutions not yet able to deliver justice or services to its people. Coupled with an unresolved power struggle that has ignited tensions along ethnic lines, we are now seeing a vicious cycle of targeted killings.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

As we celebrate the start of 2014, and a new year, the Syrian people find themselves in their third year of an escalating war. In just the last year, the number of people displaced inside Syria has quadrupled from 1.5 million to more than 6.5 million. More Syrians are now internally displaced from their homes than anywhere else in the world. An additional 2.3 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries in search of safety. More than 9.3 million people—over 40 percent of Syria’s population—are now in need of humanitarian assistance.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Since its independence from France in 1960, the CAR has been one of the poorest, most unstable countries in the world. According to the United Nations Development Program, its indicators in health, education, gender equality, income, and trade measure not only well below global averages but even remarkably below the standard for “low human development.” Successive autocratic governments punctuated by political instability and conflict have only exacerbated the effect of poverty on Central Africans. It is in this context that the current crisis developed and because of this context that the emergency in the CAR has rapidly escalated and stymied the delivery of assistance to those most affected by it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Afghanistan 2014: Year of Transition

Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and Members of the Committee, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify before you today to discuss the role of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in advancing U.S. Government policy through USAID’s civilian assistance program during the transition in Afghanistan. It is an honor to appear before you today with Ambassador Dobbins and Deputy Assistant Secretary Dumont.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Continued U.S. engagement is critical to Afghanistan’s stability and to protecting the vital interests of our own country. Improving governance, creating economic opportunity, and supporting civil society are critical to solidifying our military gains and advancing our political and diplomatic goals for Afghanistan and the region. In order to achieve these goals, USAID has reoriented its assistance program to lessen its stabilization work and place an even greater emphasis on long-term, sustainable development programming.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

From cadres of organized local volunteers to food packets dispatched via pedi-cab, the relief response in the Philippines was as comprehensive as any large-scale relief effort I’ve seen. I am confident that our government's rapid mobilization combined with the Government of the Philippines’ preparedness helped prevent a tragic situation from becoming much worse.

With the Department of Defense (DoD) in support, USAID has been able to overcome the significant logistical hurdles of providing humanitarian assistance in an island country where the most powerful recorded storm to make landfall knocked out communications and cut off access to many. The U.S. has provided nearly $60 million in humanitarian assistance to date, including food assistance to at least 2.7 million people, critically-needed water containers, heavy-duty plastic sheeting for temporary shelters, and hygiene kits to prevent the spread of disease.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

USAID views our assistance programs in the North Africa region as an investment in protecting our national interests and in building long-term partnerships with the people and the governments of those countries. USAID programs will continue to provide the seeds for future innovation and technology, to advance economic prosperity and growth, and to strengthen regional stability and security. The countries and peoples in North Africa continue to face significant challenges, but also significant opportunities. We will continue to support them through these political and economic transitions. While we recognize that our budgets are facing increasing pressures, we are aligning our programs to address the challenges and opportunities facing the region. We also know that our continued engagement in this region is vital to maintaining relationships with key allies, promoting stability, countering extremist threats in the Middle East and North Africa and advancing our key strategic interests.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gender-based violence cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, education level, and international borders. An estimated one in three women worldwide is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.  Intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence experienced by women globally. An appalling 38% of all murders of women globally were reported being committed by their intimate partners. Gender-based violence can also take the form of harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings,” bride abductions, and child marriage. An estimated 10 million girls are married every year before they reach 18.  Child marriage is a practice that increases a girl’s risk of school dropout, maternal mortality, short birth intervals, and vulnerability to other forms of gender-based violence, among other adverse outcomes. Children are particularly vulnerable to violence, especially sexual abuse. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It is truly heartbreaking to see the devastation and loss of life caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan, and I would like to express my deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones due to the storm. Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the central Philippines on the morning of November 8 local time. The storm was one of the most powerful typhoons ever to make landfall, bringing heavy rains and sustained winds of up to 195 miles per hour, and a resulting storm surge that caused near complete destruction in many coastal areas of East Samar and Leyte provinces.

The strong, experienced disaster preparedness and response capacity of the Government of the Philippines undoubtedly saved countless lives. For more than two decades, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and Mission in the Philippines have worked with the Philippine government to strengthen its disaster management system and response capabilities. Prior to the storm making landfall, the Philippine government evacuated 792,000 people to 109 evacuation centers in 22 provinces. In the first 24 to 48 hours, the government quickly triaged and evacuated many critically injured survivors to receive medical care, and subsequent government response efforts have been aggressive – mobilizing airlifts of safe drinking water, relief supplies, and food commodities to Tacloban and other hard-hit areas.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I last testified on the Syria crisis for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs seven months ago and since then we have seen another 30,000 deaths, reflecting the staggering escalation of violence. In just the last year, the number of reported deaths has tripled from 26,000 to more than 100,000. The number in need inside Syria jumped from 2.5 million people to more than 6.8 million—roughly the equivalent of the combined populations of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut. And now with over two million refugees, a national crisis has fully evolved into a regional crisis, putting severe strains on vulnerable communities of neighboring countries.


Last updated: May 24, 2016

Subscribe to Congressional Testimony