MCC Gets Vote of Confidence From Obama

President Barack Obama requested $1.45 billion in funding for the Millennium Challenge Corp. in his fiscal year 2010 budget, according to newly released budget justification documents.

This would represent a 63 percent increase from the government corporation's fiscal 2009 funding. It is a rousing-and somewhat surprising-show of support for the MCC, a government corporation created during the Bush administration. MCC saw its funding cut from from $1.5 billion in 2008 to $875 million this year. Obama's funding request would restore funding to Bush administration levels.

The U.S. Agency for International Development's total budget is a bit more difficult to discern from the administration documents, as funding appears to be coming from a number of different sources. For instance, USAID is appropriated $2.3 billion for global health activities. But for the first time, the White House is requesting a specific amount for the Global Health and Child Survivor Account, although the account falls under the control of the State Department and USAID. Obama requested $5.3 billion for this fund, which makes up the bulk of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Total proposed funding for PEPFAR is $6.6 billion.

In addition, the Office of Democracy and Governance of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance receives $37 million in the president's proposed budget. The agency would also receive $2.7 billion for development work that falls outside of the scope of PEPFAR. Obama wants to set aside $1.4 billion for operating expenses; funding for new hires would likely be taken from this funding.

At first glance, it appears as if Obama's budget places heavy emphasis on global health programs, especially those related to Africa. It also illustrates Obama's commitment to MCC, with a corporation spokesperson saying MCC was "thrilled" with the budget request.

Check back in the coming days for more detailed analysis of the budget, as well as reactions from the development community.

About the author

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    David Francis

    David is a Washington-based journalist and former Devex staffer who spearheaded Devex's "Obama's Foreign Aid Reform" blog. He has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, SportsIllustrated.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Foreign Policy magazine, and the Washington Monthly. David holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and a graduate degree from Georgetown University.