U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green's Opening Remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the FY2020 Budget Request

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Office of Press Relations

 
May 8, 2019
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Thank you, Ranking Member Menendez, Members of the Committee.  I appreciate this opportunity to summarize my testimony, and I do appreciate all the support that we've received from 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.

Members, in order to capture some of the important work that so many of you have referenced, I'd like to touch briefly on a few of my recent travels.  I 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 improve the enabling environment for women entrepreneurs, and advance 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 inaugural 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 Nicolas Maduro's ruthless regime has destroyed that country's economy and political institutions. Millions of Venezuelans, young mothers with children, have taken desperate flight.  The U.S. has responded with over $256 million in assistance for these migrants and their host communities. At the request of Interim President Guaido, and working with other countries, we have pre-positioned humanitarian assistance in the region for potential delivery into Venezuela -- in fact over 540 metric tons of such assistance.  And I'll be heading back down there in just a few days.

I 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 try to ensure that all people in Jordan can access essential services.

Last year, I visited Burma and Bangladesh.  Bangladesh now hosts one million Rohingya. Most of them there because of Burma's ruthless ethnic cleansing campaign.  In Bangladesh, we are urging the government to allow humanitarian organizations to provide migrants with a full range of support and services.  In Burma, we continue to call on the government to provide for the safe, voluntary, 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 already mobilized approximately $70 billion in supplies and assistance to help those impacted by the storms. There's also the Ebola outbreak in DRC, where health officials have reported now more than 1,550 confirmed and probable cases, and now over 1025 related deaths.  As I've said previously, we need to be very concerned about this outbreak and the serious challenges it presents. We must not take our eye off this ball. I'm aware of new legislation that was just introduced on the topic. We welcome it, and we do really appreciate the Committee's interest and leadership on this.  It is an important matter.

Of course, humanitarian matters are only part of our work.  For example, we're working hard to push back on the rising anti-democratic influence of China and Russia.  USAID will soon unveil a broad policy framework for countering malign 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 victims of ISIS in the Middle East, especially those targeted for their religious affiliation or ethnicity.  We see helping the 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 the support of so many of you, and we appreciate it. I look forward to addressing future questions that you might have as we go forward on this, as we try to address some of the remaining congressional notifications.

Finally, and most importantly, I'd like to say a quick 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 some of the world's most pressing challenges.  We're 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 20.  We've also approved 221 new Civil Service positions and have now selected ten finalists for the Donald M. Payne Fellowship Program.

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

Last updated: May 08, 2019

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