USAID Administrator Mark Green's Opening Remarks to the Senate Appropriations Committee's State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee on the FY2020 Budget Request

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Leahy, members of the committee.  I appreciate this opportunity to summarize my testimony, and I do appreciate all the support that you've shown, both sides of the aisle.

In total, the USAID request for Fiscal Year 2020 is approximately $19.2 billion.  It represents $2.4 billion, or 14 percent more than last year's request. It's an attempt to balance fiscal responsibility here at home with our leadership role and national security imperatives around the world.

In order to capture some of the important work we're doing, I'd like to briefly touch upon a few of my recent travels.

First, I've just returned from Ethiopia and Côte d'Ivoire with Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump.  While there, we met with women leaders and entrepreneurs to advance the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.  We discussed ways to boost the enabling environment for women entrepreneurs and issues like access to credit for women entrepreneurs at all levels.

Earlier this month, I traveled to Senegal to lead the U.S. Delegation to the second inauguration ceremonies for President Macky Sall.  Senegal represents what is possible in Africa and elsewhere through a commitment to democracy and inclusive economic growth.

A few months ago, I visited South America as we continue to craft policies regarding Venezuela, a country very, obviously, moving in a different direction.  It's no secret that Nicolás Maduro's ruthless regime has destroyed that country's economic and political institutions. Millions of Venezuelans -- young mothers with children -- have desperately taken flight.

The U.S. has responded with over $256 million in assistance to these migrants and their host countries.  At the request of Interim President Guaidó, and working with other countries, we have pre-positioned humanitarian assistance in the region for potential delivery into Venezuela.  In fact, nearly 546 metric tons of such assistance.

I've recently visited Jordan, another country where the U.S. is playing a vital humanitarian leadership role.  We've been working hard to help reduce strains caused by years of conflict and displacement and to ensure that all people in Jordan can access essential services.

Last year, I visited Burma and Bangladesh.  Bangladesh now hosts one million Rohingya refugees, most of them are there because of Burma's ruthless ethnic cleansing campaign.  In Bangladesh, we are urging the government to allow humanitarian organizations to provide refugees with a whole range of support and services.

In Burma, we continue to call on the government to provide for the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of Rohingya and other vulnerable communities.

While most of our humanitarian assistance goes for man-made, regime-driven crises, we're also responding to terrible natural disasters, like cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.  We've mobilized approximately $60 million in supplies and assistance to help those impacted by the storms.

There's also the Ebola outbreak in DRC, where health officials have reported over 1,400 confirmed and probable cases and, now, more than 930 related deaths.  As I've said previously, we need to be concerned about this outbreak and the serious challenges that it presents.

Of course, humanitarian matters are only a part of our work.  For example, we're working to push back hard on the rising anti-democratic influence of China and Russia.  USAID will soon unveil a framework for countering maligned Kremlin influence, especially in Europe and Eurasia.  Our 2020 request prioritizes $584 million to support that work.

The request also reflects an expansion of our work to help the victims of ISIS in the Middle East -- those who were targeted for their religion or ethnicity.  We see helping Yazidis and Christians and others as part of defeating the terrorist network once and for all.

Closer to home, when I last appeared before you, I provided an overview of our Transformation plans.  We've made great progress thanks to your support. I look forward to addressing any questions you might have going forward, as we address some of the remaining congressional notifications.

Finally, and most importantly, I'd like to say a word about our most precious asset: our human resources.  Our dedicated foreign service officers, civil service staff, foreign service nationals, and other team members who are truly on the front lines of many of the world's most pressing challenges.  We are continuing to staff up and to bring our workforce into greater alignment with strategic planning numbers and available operating expense allocations. We're planning to hire approximately 140 career-track foreign service officers before the end of Fiscal Year 2020.  We've also approved 221 new civil service positions and have now selected 10 finalists for the Donald M. Payne Fellowship Program.

Members, I appreciate your support, your guidance, and your counsel.  And, Mr. Chairman, thank you again for this opportunity to appear before you.  I welcome your questions.

Last updated: April 30, 2019

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