USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks to the Press on the FY 2021 Budget Request

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Monday, February 10, 2020
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov

 

Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun and USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks to the Press on the FY 2021 Budget Request
Harry S. Truman Building Press Briefing Room
Washington, D.C.

 

MR BROWN:  Thank you all for joining us today for the rollout of the President's Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request for both the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

I'll just quickly turn this over to the Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun and USAID Administrator Mark Green for opening remarks.  At the conclusion, we'll have a few subject matter experts at the podium to take a few of your questions.

DEPUTY SECRETARY BIEGUN:  Thank you, Cale, and good afternoon.  It's a pleasure to be here with you all making my maiden performance from the podium as deputy secretary of state.  I'd like to thank Mark Green, the administrator of USAID, for joining me today to present the fiscal 2021 budget for the State Department and USAID.

The President's 2021 budget requests nearly $41 billion for the State Department and USAID.  With these funds, we will protect our citizens at home and abroad, and advance Americans' - America's interests and the values of prosperity, freedom, and peace in coordination with our allies and partners around the world.

We are at the forefront of the most pressing foreign policy and national security challenges our country faces.  Both our agencies are working hard every day to protect the safety and security of American citizens, to advance U.S. national security and economic interests, to strengthen and build our alliances by providing support to our friends and partners, and to advance democratic values and strengthen democratic institutions around the world.  We are working to maintain our status as an employer of choice as we strengthen our global talent and management and our departments, and we are securing our embassies infrastructure as well as modernizing our information technology.  These priorities are reflected throughout our budget request.

To successfully rise to these challenges, we need to empower and enable today's State Department team for our current and future challenges.  First and foremost, this budget invests in our people to ensure the State Department and USAID grow and retain a talented global, diplomatic, and development workforce.  Critical to our ability to effectively inform and execute the President's foreign policy objectives is a well-trained task workforce guided by the Secretary's ethos and the department's standards of integrity and respect.

Our budget request prioritizes the safety of our diplomatic and development staff overseas, it protects personnel from emerging threats, and it invests in secure, safe, and functional diplomatic facilities.  The priority we place on safety and security extends beyond physical facilities to our networks and data.  The budget request seeks to strengthen the State Department and USAID IT systems, prioritizing the field-first cybersecurity enhancements that we are undertaking. 

Importantly, the budget protects against infectious disease threats at home and abroad by bolstering country capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks and to prevent epidemics from reaching our borders.  It also allows us to provide the necessary flexibility to respond to emerging global health threats such as the novel coronavirus and Ebola.  We are requesting additional resources to replenish the flexible global health emergency reserve fund to allow us to quickly respond to outbreaks and to prevent potential pandemics from reaching our borders.

Over the past few weeks, I have served as the State Department's representative on the President's novel coronavirus task force.  While our Health and Human Services and CDC colleagues rightfully lead on the overall response to the outbreak, I have been privileged to lead an incredible State Department effort to protect the safety and security of Americans overseas in response to the coronavirus outbreak.  Our State Department team was able to provide consular services and support Americans at the epicenter of this disease in China.  Our ability to successfully evacuate Americans was due to the incredible men and women of the State Department and the resources provided by this budget.

I would be remiss if I did not point out the amazing leadership of Administrator Mark Green and his team at USAID in addressing the novel coronavirus risk as well.  At the same time that State Department was standing up efforts to advise, assist, and in some cases evacuate Americans at risk, our colleagues at USAID were actively looking over the horizon to anticipate where this virus might next spread and developing assistance strategies to help other nations improve surveillance and resilience.  These efforts build on years of smart investments by USAID to improve global health capacity in anticipation of a moment just like this.  Well done, Mark, to you and your team. 

While we work to address the daily challenges that arise around the world, we must not lose sight of the many opportunities we have to advance American values, to build and sustain our alliances and partnerships.  Accordingly, this budget invests in new capabilities to defend our interests and uphold our values across the security, trade, and information domains.  This budget deploys U.S. foreign assistance as a vital tool serving America's national interests and security, providing the resources for the United States to expand our influence and safeguard our economic interests even as competition from rising powers increases.  In recent years, we have seen countries protectively applying - proactively applying their power to exert influence that undermines democratic values and institutions around the world.  This budget request allows the United States to support economic growth and democratic values in areas where our adversaries seek to exploit, such as Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Central Asia, the Indo-Pacific, and particularly across energy, trade, and regulatory frameworks. 

There are few efforts as important to this administration than the safety and security of the American people.  The budget supports U.S. border security by strengthening visa vetting, targeting illicit pathways that transnational criminal organizations are using to traffic drugs, money, weapons, and even human beings, and enhancing governance and boosting local economies to discourage illegal immigration.

Our budget request maintains the United States as the single largest donor in humanitarian assistance and global health, while also asking other countries and partners to do more.  The President's Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2021 sets our agencies and our country up for success, and I appreciate the opportunity to introduce it to all of you this afternoon.

Thank you again for joining us today.  And with that, I'd like to turn the podium over to the administrator of USAID, Mark Green.  Thank you.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, Deputy Secretary, and good afternoon to all of you.  The President's Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2021 includes $19.6 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development.  These resources will help us reach - reduce the reach of conflict, prevent the spread of infectious diseases like Ebola in the DRC and the novel coronavirus, as well as counteract the drivers of violence, instability, and other security threats. 

The budget request supports civil society in the private sector in our partner countries on the journey to self-reliance by strengthening their ability to lead their own path forward.  Self-reliance is core to all that we do, as it recognizes every community and every country's inherent dignity and desire to lead their own future. 

The budget request provides the resources for USAID to champion American values by promoting democracy, citizen-responsive governance, and human rights.  It supports our efforts to advance international religious freedom, and protect persecuted religious and ethnic minorities such as historic communities in northern Iraq and the Rohingya in Bangladesh and Burma.

We see religious freedom as a fundamental human right, and also critical to a more peaceful, more stable world.  We will also continue to support our key U.S. allies and partners to bolster participatory, transparent, and inclusive political processes; enhance transparency and sound public management; and strengthen human rights institutions.

The well-being and freedom of our people and partner countries directly affects our economic and national security interests.  That's why the budget request includes more than $200 million to support a democratic transition in Venezuela.

The budget request will also help USAID protect America's security at home and abroad, and aim to renew America's competitive advantage for sustained economic growth and job creation. 

As we have since I joined the agency, we will work to engage the private sector to accelerate development solutions while creating opportunities for American businesses.  We will expand the reach of the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Fund to contribute to economic growth and political stability.  When women do well, countries do well, economies do well, communities do well, and families do well.

With the resources in this budget request, USAID will work to counter the effects of crises driven by authoritarian regimes.  These crises often give rise to forced migration and refugees.  These populations can burden and potentially destabilize countries, and in turn devastate lives, disrupt economies, and strain health systems.

The budget request also includes a significant increase to advance an inclusive and secure digital ecosystem to counter malign influences and advance internet freedom.  The new Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance will advance USAID's mission of delivering food and non-food international disaster assistance in a way that maximizes impact as well as efficiency on behalf of the American taxpayer.

Natural disasters and manmade conflict will continue to plague many parts of the world.  But USAID will help governments and civil society reduce the risks of disaster, including early warning systems while we also respond to urgent humanitarian needs. 

The budget will maintain U.S. global leadership in the area of humanitarian assistance, while, as the deputy secretary said, also expecting others to do their part and share more of the burden. 

The budget request includes resources for USAID to help improve global public health and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.  We will increase our contribution to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, to $1.16 billion over four years, our largest ever multiyear commitment, in order to protect an additional 300 million children and prevent at least 7 to 8 million future deaths.

The budget request also supports the implementation of the administration's Indo-Pacific Strategy to promote a free, open, and secure Asia.  USAID will promote trade and investment in Africa and open markets for American businesses and exports by increasing resources for the administration's Prosper Africa Initiative and facilitating partnerships that unlock the African continent's economic potential.

And USAID will also work hard to counter malign influence and advance bilateral relationships and good governance in Europe, in Central Asia, and elsewhere.  USAID will forge strong linkages with the new International Development Finance Corporation to expand the toolkit for supporting partner-driven enterprise growth, free markets, and American interests.

The President's 2021 Budget Request also helps to build the USAID of tomorrow and maximizes the impact of American tax dollars.  We will further increase the effectiveness of foreign assistance by implementing the agency's internal reorganization - or, as we refer to it, our transformation - to advance a new, more field-centric, field-driven mission, to strengthen our technical expertise, and support our operations and staff.

In summary, with this budget request, the dedicated men and women of USAID will continue to represent the best of the American people.  Thank you. 

Last updated: March 24, 2020

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