Congressional Testimony

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Since August 2018, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been facing what is now an unprecedented Ebola outbreak in the country. As of March 6, health officials have recorded 907 confirmed and probable cases, including 569 deaths as a result of the outbreak that continues to spread in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the eastern part of the country. It is now the second largest recorded outbreak of the disease, eclipsed only by the 2014 West Africa outbreak that resulted in nearly 29,000 cases and killed more than 11,000 people. I know you are interested in the recent attacks on health facilities in areas affected by the outbreak. While I will touch on this later, I want to start by saying that our hearts go out to the people affected by these tragedies. We are tracking the effects of these incidents.

Since the outbreak began, the U.S. Government has been working closely with the Government of the DRC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other international partners to contain the spread of disease. Bringing an end to this devastating outbreak is a priority for the U.S. Government, not only because we are committed to supporting those affected, but also because effective efforts to contain and end the outbreak can prevent it from reaching the broader region, as well as our borders. This latest outbreak also highlights the importance of the U.S. Government’s continued investments in global health security.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

We all realize that humanitarian assistance, no matter how badly it is needed, is treatment, not a cure. It cannot address the root cause of the problem. So long as Maduro and his cronies continue to crush the people of Venezuela, their economy, and their hope, this crisis will worsen. As in Cuba, Nicaragua, and other places where people are suffering under authoritarianism, we know the answer to Venezuela’s problem is human liberty and democracy, which remain the highest and best hope for people everywhere.

Venezuelans deserve a return to democracy, rule of law, and citizen-responsive governance. Despite the current turmoil, I am optimistic that a brighter day is ahead. The doomsayers talk as though freedom is in irreversible decline, but the only way freedom and democracy will fall away is if we let them. Interim President Guaidó, and the other Venezuelans I have spoken with during my travels throughout the region, are determined not to let that happen, and we are proud to stand with them in their struggle.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

To ensure that USAID remains the world’s premier development organization, the Agency initiated an internal redesign process, or Transformation, in early 2017. When I last appeared before Committee on March 22, 2018, I provided an overview of several planned initiatives in this framework. After consultations with many of you and your staff, we have since launched many of them, and are eager to answer any questions you might have to approve our remaining Congressional Notifications on our Transformation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

This is a pivotal moment in the history of Venezuela. The people are standing up against a dictator. They are not alone. As USAID Administrator Mark Green said, “We proudly stand with the people of Venezuela who are yearning for freedom and a true democracy.”

The Venezuelan people have endured a steady erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms under the Maduro regime. With a handpicked Supreme Court effectively abolishing all the powers of the country's democratically elected National Assembly, the creation of an illegitimate Constituent Assembly, and a corrupt electoral council that responds to the regime, Maduro gave himself almost unlimited powers. This culminated in early, sham, so-called elections last year, after which Maduro attempted to steal another six-year term.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

USAID is deeply committed to supporting free, fair, transparent, and peaceful elections in Nigeria. We know that Nigeria’s success in achieving sustained, broad-based advancements in economic and social development for its people can only be achieved if good governance is a daily reality for all Nigerians. Since the 2015 election, our support has provided continuity in assisting with gubernatorial, off-cycle elections, and in the lead up preparations to the 2019 general elections. Our programmatic efforts have been in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development, in addition to regular coordination with civil society groups, as well as multilateral and bilateral donors.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Some Americans see only Africa’s seemingly intractable problems, but I truly believe that Africa’s future is bright. The investments and commitment of the American people to the people of Africa are paying off, and USAID has set its priorities to capitalize on the region’s emerging opportunities. Under Administrator Green’s leadership, USAID is focusing its resources, policy tools, and engagement in places where the conditions are right to establish and sustain progress.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Mr. Chairman, there is no doubt that China is increasingly exerting its influence across the region. This presents challenges to our partner countries’ sustainable development and can threaten country sovereignty. The strategic partnership we offer to countries throughout the region provides a clear, alternative choice — one that invests in increasing country self-reliance and sustainable prosperity, and helps countries to make informed decisions about their own futures.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

As we look ahead, it is clear that many challenges remain. The Assad regime is gearing up for a large-scale offensive in northwest Syria, an area already facing significant humanitarian needs due to years of conflict, as well as the large number of displaced people who already live there. The city of Idlib currently hosts the highest concentration of displaced people inside Syria-- with thousands of people arriving just in the last couple months from eastern Ghouta and southwest Syria — further taxing the area’s ability to support them. This upcoming offensive has the potential to create a humanitarian emergency at a scale not yet seen during this seven-year civil war, possibly creating temporary displacement for up to 900,000 people. In addition to this mass displacement, the UN and other humanitarian groups are bracing for intense bombing and shelling, resulting in civilian deaths, as well as the destruction of schools and hospitals. Our partners are looking to pre-position relief supplies where possible, and our DART is already looking to identify areas of greatest need.

An additional challenge in Syria, particularly the northwest, is the ability of aid groups to reach people living in territory controlled by terrorist organizations. Because the Syria crisis is subject to elevated risks of aid diversion to U.S.-sanctioned terrorist groups, USAID has put risk mitigation programs in place — including the hiring of dedicated risk mitigation staff — to reduce the possibility of fraud, waste, and abuse, and the diversion of benefits. Do not be mistaken: USAID places the highest priority on ensuring that taxpayer funds are used wisely, effectively and for their intended purpose. But without aid from the United States and the international community, Syrians in desperate need of basics aid — food, water, and shelter — do not have a good chance of survival. So USAID works with our partners to put in place checks and safeguards that will allow assistance to keep flowing to the people who need it, without being diverted.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Central Asia is a strategically important region for the United States, with tremendous opportunity that is constrained by significant development challenges. If the region is to increase its stability and realize its full potential, USAID must remain engaged in areas that further our strategic interests. With the FY 2019 budget request, USAID will continue making the most of every U.S. taxpayer dollar to ensure that the development decisions our partner countries make today help move them forward on their journeys to self-reliance and achieve the objectives of the South Asia Strategy.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

USAID further believes that partner countries that build strong democracies and market-oriented economies, will be more resilient to Kremlin attempts to exploit weaknesses in their political and economic institutions.

Importantly, whether the focus is on Countering Kremlin Influence goals or other objectives, USAID is committed to taking every prudent step to extend the reach and effectiveness of taxpayer resources. This includes strengthening domestic resource mobilization programs so the partners can more effectively finance their own development future. It includes taking steps to ensure that our program and procedures are more private enterprise friendly, so that we can better leverage our resources, bring new ideas and partners to our work, and increase opportunities for American businesses.

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Last updated: December 15, 2019

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