The Republican Study Committee’s proposal to slash the national deficit by defunding the U.S. Agency for International Development and other development-focused federal organizations will derail progress on reforming U.S. foreign aid programs, the coalition Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network says.
A proposal by RSC, which includes more than 170 House Republicans, aims to cut funding for USAID in a bid to save USD1.39 billion annually.
Rebuilding USAID is crucial to U.S. national security and economic interests, as well as improved living conditions in poor nations, according to a Jan. 26 statement from the group.
“USAID is a crucial partner of the United States military in “frontline states” including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, where the agency’s civilian development professionals train security forces, support efforts to bolster democracy and the rule of law, and improve quality of life for people in areas where extremism thrives,” the statement reads.
USAID chief Rajiv Shah had earlier stressed the role of foreign aid programs in promoting U.S. national security interests. In an interview with The Cable, Shah said the proposed congressional cuts could put U.S. national security “in real jeopardy because we are working hand and glove with our military to keep us safe.”
MFAN also notes that the aid agency is making strides in implementing its “tough” reform agenda, which will reduce inefficiencies, increase accountability and improve the selection of partner nations.