Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 5, 2003

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Accountability & U.S. Foreign Assistance:
Legislating the Millennium Challenge Account

Hearing Thursday; Markup of Hyde Proposal in Mid-March

BACKGROUND -- For decades, U.S. taxpayers have underwritten the cost of billions of dollars in foreign assistance, and arguments persist about the effectiveness of this aid in nurturing sustained economic and political reform among the world’s poor underdeveloped nations. In March 2002, President Bush embraced a new approach to foreign assistance that links U.S. generosity to the behavior of countries seeking economic aid. The Millennium Challenge Account would be “devoted to projects in nations that govern justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom.” This linkage between U.S. aid and behavior is long overdue, critics of traditional foreign aid programs argue. Others suggest the well-meaning proposal is unworkable because it requires a long-term vision of the world by the U.S. Government, a vision often sacrificed to the urgent needs of day-to-day diplomacy.

WHAT: Full Committee Hearing: "The Millennium Challenge Account"

WHEN: 10 a.m., Thursday, March 6, 2003

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: The Honorable Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; The Honorable Alan P. Larson, Under Secretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, Department of State; The Honorable John B. Taylor, Under Secretary for International Affairs, Department of the Treasury.; David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World; Charles MacCormack, President and CEO, Save the Children; Steven Radelet, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development; and Brett Schaefer, Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation.

Questions to be raised during this hearing:

bulletWhy should we be increasing U.S. foreign assistance at a time of record federal budget deficits in the United States?
bulletWhat criteria should be used to determine eligibility for beneficiary countries under the Millennium Challenge Account?
bulletWho should be in charge of the Millennium Challenge Account?
bulletHow do we ensure that this new assistance, if authorized, is coordinated with other forms of U.S. foreign economic assistance?
bulletHow do we ensure that this additional assistance is not used to achieve only short-term goals of diplomacy?
bulletWhat about countries that are not eligible for this new type of assistance? Will other forms of U.S. foreign assistance continue?