USAID

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced yesterday the Global Partnerships Act of 2012, “a top-to-bottom approach to overhauling the existing [international] aid structure.” This legislation would replace the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, “the outdated system that the United States has relied on to disburse foreign aid for the past 50 years,” reports CQ.com.

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The Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced the launch of the newly developed Foreign Assistance Dashboard.

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After providing a sneak preview of the draft summary of its Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) in late November, the State Department yesterday announced the official release of the first-ever QDDR, “Leading Through Civilian Power.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah spoke at the U.S.-India People to People Conference last Thursday, which was hosted by the U.S. Department of State in cooperation with the Indian American Leadership Council (IALC) and the American India Foundation (AIF).

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A profile in Sunday’s New York Times of USAID chief administrator Rajiv Shah depicts the relationship between Shah and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as one of a complex nature: despite the fact that Shah has had to contend with Clinton’s desire to keep USAID under the State Department’s influence, Clinton has also proven to be “his strongest champion.”

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Delays in the Senate and the Obama administration have left the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with only one of its twelve Senate-confirmed posts filled, CQ.com reports today.

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Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, spoke yesterday at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) about the importance of ensuring sustained funding for the Foreign Service and other “civilian elements” of the U.S. national security strategy.

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A new Economist/YouGov poll released this week shows that 71 per cent of respondents believe that foreign aid should be cut in order to help balance the federal budget. (Coming in second is the environment, for which 29 per cent of respondents believe funding should be cut.) The poll also notes that spending on foreign aid accounts for less than one per cent of the total federal budget.

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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced on Friday the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (see the full bill here). Described in a press release from Kerry and Lugar as “comprehensive bi-partisan legislation,” this authorization would “provide authority, policy guidance, and operational oversight to the State Department.”

Eight former U.S. Secretaries of State jointly penned an op-ed in yesterday’s Politico calling for a drastic increase in U.S. global engagement:

We, former secretaries of state of different administrations and different political parties, and with differing views on many other issues, are nevertheless of one mind on this issue of critical importance to our country’s national security. We call on Congress to act accordingly and fund this critical need.

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