USAID Administrator Samantha Power Opening Statement on the FY 2022 Budget Request to the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Speeches Shim

Thursday, May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Thank you, Chairwoman Lee, Ranking Member Rogers, Chairwoman DeLauro, and members of the Subcommittee. Let me start by expressing my deep gratitude for the continued bipartisan support for the work we do at USAID. This support for development and humanitarian assistance has saved and improved millions of lives and it is critically important in advancing U.S. interests around the world.

You have long recognized that diplomacy, defense, and development are vital components of our foreign policy. And President Biden does as well, which is reflected in the discretionary budget request and in his decision to elevate the USAID Administrator to become a standing member of the National Security Council.

Our investments in development and humanitarian assistance have grown even more necessary in light of today's challenges. And here let me respond–I know we'll have other occasions–but to Ranking Member Rogers' concerns about the increase in the budget and offer a context for the request. A persistent pandemic, that as we know, has left nearly 3.5 million dead, swelled the ranks of the extreme poor for the first time since the late 1990s. Authoritarian regimes like China and Russia acting more aggressively each year, exploiting not only the COVID-19 emergency, but vulnerabilities in our democracies. A rapidly changing climate sending fiercer storms our way and inflicting droughts, deep freezes, and wildfires upon communities. Mass displacement at its highest since World War II. And just when you think it can't get worse, every day it seems a new horrific crisis is emerging, such as that in Ethiopia's Tigray region, where Ethiopians are facing the worst food insecurity the country has seen since the 1983-84 famine killed over 1 million people. And of course, as was mentioned, against this backdrop, China increasingly using its financial power as leverage to advance its interests.

These are obviously not positive developments, but as an American, I am very glad that USAID, the world's premier development agency, is uniquely positioned to confront the world's toughest problems and to catalyze our partners to do the same. The steps we take to combat COVID, climate change, conflict, and other ills, make us safer, while demonstrating compassion for - and cooperation with - people all around the world.

As has been indicated, when we fight COVID-19 abroad, we reduce the risk of variants that can lead to outbreaks at home. When incomes rise in the developing world, these countries become more self-reliant and less dependent on donor support. When the U.S. delivers aid to those affected by natural disasters, we demonstrate the best of American values and build the type of goodwill that inspires cooperation from our allies.

Our investments help support civil society under stress, they address the drivers of violent extremism and the root causes of conflict and migration. They meet the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations, build resilience to extreme weather patterns, itself a good investment, meaning we need to spend less humanitarian assistance on the back end. Combat the spread of infectious diseases of course, and now especially, contribute to a global economic recovery.

We, of course, know that the enormous level of need far outstrips any one country's ability to meet it, nor do we believe that the United States has to bear all the responsibility for the world's ills. This request will allow the U.S. to lead on the global stage and to leverage our activities to get our allies and private sector partners to do more. We also need to make ourselves a more capable and nimble Agency, and we are seeking to adapt our systems, processes, and procedures to that end, including by seeking to expand our engagement with the private sector. We also need to build USAID's institutional capacity given its role as a national security agency.

We are focused on our workforce. During the pandemic, many of our staff at home and abroad have been working 24/7 to provide life-saving aid around the world, even while their loved ones are battling COVID-19 at home. Moving forward, we are seeking not a return to the previous status quo, but rather wish to harness the capabilities of our staff and support them in the ways that they need. Underpinning all of our efforts, Madam Chairwoman, will be a strong focus on creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive USAID.

With your support, we will move aggressively to tackle the world's toughest challenges. I look forward to our continued partnership in ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are spent effectively.

Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.

FY 2022 Budget
House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Last updated: July 25, 2022

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